A perinatologist, also known as a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, is a physician that specializes in high risk pregnancies. Some pre-existing conditions may increase the possibility for complications during your pregnancy and delivery. Perinatologists work with your obstetricians and the labor and delivery staff to coordinate the safest and healthiest birth for you and your baby.
Our perinatology department works closely with our neonatologists to ensure that both you and your baby have a safe delivery and the proper care for a lifetime of good health.
You may be considered to have a high risk pregnancy for several reasons including:
- You have diabetes or you develop gestational diabetes
- You have a history of heart disease or high blood pressure
- You are over the age of 35
- You have a history of past pregnancy problems including preterm labor and repetitive miscarriage
- You develop preeclampsia, which is pregnancy induced hypertension
- You have an infectious disease including hepatitis and HIV/AIDS
- You have renal or gastrointestinal disease
You may also be considered as a high risk pregnancy if your prenatal tests have revealed any fetal anomalies, suspected birth defects or if it is a multiple birth.
During pregnancy, some women develop a temporary form of diabetes called gestational diabetes. This condition is caused by pregnancy hormones interfering with the insulin in your blood, causing higher blood sugar levels.
You may be at risk for gestational diabetes if:
- You are over 35
- You have a family history of diabetes
- You were overweight before pregnancy
- You have high blood pressure (also known as hypertension)
Proper management of gestational diabetes can prevent complications during pregnancy and delivery. The nationally-recognized Whittier Institute for Diabetes offers special programs for women who have pre-existing diabetes (before becoming pregnant), or who develop gestational diabetes. One-on-one appointments help you manage your blood sugar during pregnancy. The Whittier staff will with obstetricians, advanced practice nurses, perinatologists, nutritionists and neonatologist to ensure a safe delivery.