Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Compassionate Medical Care for Women with High-Risk Pregnancies

RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) team is comprised of world-class, board-certified maternal-fetal medicine doctors called perinatologists. They specialize in caring for mothers and unborn babies of high-risk or complicated pregnancies. These highly trained specialists work with a multidisciplinary team of other medical professionals, including OB/GYNs, as well as the patients’ referring physician, to ensure pregnant mothers receive the best care possible.

It’s important to know that even if your pregnancy is deemed “high risk,” it does not necessarily mean your pregnancy will be more challenging than someone with a lower-risk pregnancy. What it does mean is that you will need more monitoring to ensure the best outcome for you and your baby.

Do I Need a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist?

When pregnancy complications threaten the mother’s or fetus’ health, MFMs use their expertise to provide personalized, targeted treatment. Our MFM doctors at RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group are available from preconception through labor and delivery, as well as on an emergency basis. Whether you have an underlying medical condition or there is a suspected or known problem with your growing baby, you can trust our MFM specialists. Our doctors are here to provide the expertise and resources you need and ease your concerns.

You may be a candidate for MFM services if:

  • You are 35 years or older at the time of conception: Pregnancy after age 35 can increase the risk of complications such as premature birth and birth defects. Working with a MFM specialist can help to ensure healthy outcomes for you and your baby.
  • You are carrying a baby with a diagnosed birth defect: About every 1 in every 33 babies born in the U.S. have some type of birth defect, according to research from the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. These birth defects may be noticed in prenatal testing or via a fetal ultrasound. The services MFM Specialists are often called upon by obstetricians who identify congenital disabilities, as an MFM physician has the advanced training and expertise to help ensure the mother and baby can mitigate potential health risks or severe complications. If you have had a previous pregnancy carrying a baby with a birth defect, you may also request a referral to an MFM doctor.
  • Your family history has specific genetic disorders: If you are diagnosed with or if you are a carrier of an inheritable disease, like hemophilia or muscular dystrophy, you should consider prenatal testing and a possible referral to an MFM doctor. You may also consider seeking the help of an MFM specialist if you belong to an ethnic group in which certain inherited disorders are prevalent. For example, Ashkenazi Jewish couples are at a higher risk of having babies with Tay-Sachs disease, and African American couples may have babies with sickle-cell anemia.
  • You have a history of pregnancy complications: If you are a woman who has had recurrent miscarriage, stillbirth, pre-eclampsia, or premature delivery, the expertise of an MFM doctor will significantly benefit you. Women who have had previous preterm labor don’t always have the same problem in subsequent pregnancies, however.
  • You have an existing medical condition: An MFM specialist can help you monitor your health and determine the proper treatments and medications during your pregnancy. Women with conditions such as diabetes, substance use disorder, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or an autoimmune disorder can seek the help of an MFM specialist to follow their baby’s growth and wellbeing. The specialist may recommend nutrition counseling, medications, and offer personalized advice for when and how you should give birth.
  • You are carrying multiples (twins, triplets, and so on): Multiple gestation has a higher risk of complications, including developing pre-eclampsia or preterm labor. An MFM specialist can help you mitigate these risks and work towards the goal of having healthy babies and a healthy mother.

To make an appointment with one of our RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group maternal-fetal medicine specialists, please visit our Physician Locator to find a provider near you. You can make an appointment online, call the office or visit healthconnect.rwjbh.org/hcweb to book directly.