What is a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist?
A Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist is an obstetrician/gynecologist who deals with high-risk pregnancies or special problem pregnancies. MFM specialists have completed additional formal training and have advanced knowledge of the medical, genetic, surgical, and obstetrical complications that can occur during pregnancy.
This training is obtained in specially approved fellowship programs. The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology approves these fellowships, and board certification is granted with demonstration of this advanced knowledge. Thus, a MFM specialist has obtained certification in Obstetrics/Gynecology and Maternal Fetal Medicine.
Scope of Practice
The MFM specialist provides medical care for a broad range of problems encountered in pregnancy, such as twins, triplets, or more; diabetes; premature labor; and other special conditions occurring in pregnancy, including previous adverse outcomes.
The MFM specialist also performs detailed ultrasound evaluation of pregnancies and special procedures on the fetus while it is in the uterus. These procedures can vary from drawing fluid from the fluid-filled sac surrounding the baby (amniocentesis) to sampling the placenta (chorionic villus sampling) for genetic evaluation.
In addition, treatment is frequently required for a baby in the uterus in order to prolong the pregnancy and/or prevent a devastating illness. These treatments can vary from a blood transfusion to draining a blocked bladder to medical treatment of an abnormal heartbeat. Medical treatment of special fetal illnesses such as thyroid disease has also been accomplished during pregnancy. In fact, the variety and scope of care provided by MFM specialists is so broad, it is impossible to cover in a few paragraphs.