What is a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist?
A Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist (MFM) is a doctor who has specialised as a general Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (FRANZCOG), and then undertaken a minimum of 3 further years of rigorous training to care for high risk pregnancies. Most obstetricians in Australia do not hold this qualification. Maternal Fetal Medicine is the highest qualification an Obstetrician can hold.
Maternal Fetal Medicine doctors look after both low risk and high risk pregnancies. We are first and foremost obstetricians, caring for women having normal pregnancies and births. However, we are also experts in looking after pregnancies with complications for the baby including growth restriction, amniotic fluid problems, fetal anomalies and multiple pregnancies such as twin and triplet pregnancies. We also care for women with pre-existing medical problems in pregnancy including problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, epilepsy, lupus, as well as heart, lung and gastrointestinal problems.
Of course, most high risk pregnancies begin as low risk. Having a doctor with MFM qualifications care for you during a pregnancy will give you extra reassurance, just in case things do not go as planned.
We also look after women who have experienced complications in pregnancy before, such as preterm birth or pregnancy loss, and ensure that every step is taken to have the highest chance of a positive outcome in future pregnancies.
As Maternal Fetal Medicine doctors, we are experts in pregnancy ultrasound, both for identifying and managing pregnancy problems and tracking your baby’s growth, but also in using 3D/4D ultrasound to have a ‘sneak peek’ at your baby on the inside. MFMs can perform diagnostic procedures such as amniocentesis or chorionic villous sampling where needed. Some MFM doctors can also perform fetal surgery or other lifesaving procedures before baby is born such as laser surgery and in-utero blood transfusions for anaemic babies.
MFM doctors are trained to review the latest research to ensure that their practice always remains up-to-date and cutting edge.
Most Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists choose this area as they are genuinely interested by all aspects of pregnancy and love caring for women in this special time in their lives.