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Maternal Fetal Medicine

Maternal Fetal Medicine Q&A

Every pregnancy is different, and some pregnancies require more advanced care than others. Maternal fetal surgical specialist, Dr. Suwan Mehra, MD, offers the very best in high risk pregnancy care, helping families achieve a safe and enjoyable pregnancy. Begin your journey today by calling to book a visit or try the easy online scheduling tool.

What is maternal fetal medicine?

Maternal fetal medicine is an area of medical practice focused on providing outstanding care to women who are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy. While all pregnancies can take a toll, some women have needs that rise above the norm. 

Doctors who specialize in maternal fetal medicine go through additional training to learn how to perform advanced interventions and diagnostic assessments. Dr. Mehra is fellowship trained in maternal fetal medicine and is among the most sought-after specialists in the region. 

What are some services available within maternal fetal medicine?

Working with a maternal fetal medicine specialist provides access to treatments and diagnostic tools not normally available within routine obstetrics care.  Some of the services available within this subspecialty include:

  • Diagnosis of fetal heart conditions, birth defects, and blood disorders
  • Care for maternal health conditions that might impact pregnancy
  • Amniocentesis, umbilical cord sampling, and chorionic villus sampling
  • Ultrasound and other screening technology to assess fetal development
  • Post partum and neonatal care planning 
  • Fetal surgical intervention, when indicated 

Reducing the risk of preterm birth is one of the central areas of focus within maternal fetal medicine. Dr. Mehra works one-on-one with the mothers in his care to determine when treatments are needed.

Who needs a maternal fetal medicine specialist?

Many women are referred to Dr. Mehra after their OBGYN determines they have a high-risk pregnancy.  Others are aware they’ll need additional pregnancy support from the beginning,  and begin seeing Dr. Mehra during the pre-conception phase. 

Some indications you might need to work with a maternal fetal medicine specialist include:

  • Maternal health issues like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and blood clotting disorders
  • Previous pregnancy complications like preterm birth
  • Preeclampsia (maternal hypertension)
  • Multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, or more)
  • Current pregnancy complications

Maternal Fetal Specialists use highly specialized fetal testing to provide the most accurate diagnosis possible.  Not every diagnosis requires every test; however, any testing can be scary.  Below is a list of the most commonly ordered tests, with explanations of what to expect with each test: 


  • Amniocentesis is a needle procedure for testing and treatment. Using ultrasound guidance, a narrow needle is inserted into the mother's belly and into the amniotic sac (protective membrane around your baby). The amniotic fluid contains cells, hormones, and other substances from your baby, allowing Dr. Mehra to run a wide variety of tests from one sample. 

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

  • Similar to amniocentesis, CVS may also use a needle inserted into the mother's belly to collect a small tissue sample from the placenta.  This test is also performed with ultrasound guidance.  In some instances, a thin tube is inserted through the cervix and into the uterus to collect the sample.  CVS is used to detect genetic disorders such as Down Syndrome and cystic fibrosis. 

Fetal Blood Sampling

  • Another ultrasound-guided needle procedure, fetal blood sampling involves taking a small sample of baby's blood.  Testing the fetal blood sample can show oxygen levels and check for signs of infections, genetic disorders, and anemia. 

Microarray Analysis 

  • This test analyzes samples of amniotic fluid and placenta tissue taken during amniocentesis and CVS for signs of genetic disorders.  Microarray analysis can test for many more types of genetic disorders than amniocentesis or CVS alone. 


Fetal Imaging: 

High-Resolution Fetal Ultrasound

  • Even in you've had previous ultrasounds, new scans are typically performed to ensure Dr. Mehra has the latest diagnostic information.  Ultrasounds use sound waves to create images, avoiding radiation exposure.  High-resolution technology provides greater detail to show concerns even in early pregnancy.  Highly skilled sonographers use 3D and 4D ultrasound to produce detailed images, allowing for Dr. Mehra to make the most accurate diagnosis.  Fetal Doppler and color Doppler ultrasound studies allow for visualizations of blood flow in the baby, the umbilical cord, and the placenta. 

Fetal Echocardiogram

  • Ultrasound technology can also produce moving images of a baby's heart, to show it pumping blood.  Fetal Echocardiogram is used to check for structural problems within the heart's muscles, chambers, or valves. 

Ultrafast Fetal MRI

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) also avoids radiation exposure, using powerful magnets and radiowaves to create scans.  MRI provides detailed images of the baby's internal structures, even showing problems hidden by bone that other imaging may not pick up.  Ultrafast technology uses a snapshot-like technique that is useful for capturing images of active babies in the womb. 

Low Dose Fetal CT

  • Computed tomography (CT) scanning uses X-rays (radiation) to produce detailed 3D images, particularly of bones.  This test is typically performed in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, after baby's organs have fully developed.  As indicated by the name of the test, the radiation dose is very low. 

While this list does not cover every test Dr. Mehra may order, these are the tests most commonly ordered.  If he recommends an evaluation or procedure that is not listed above, Dr. Mehra will thoroughly explain why the recommendation was made, and what to expect.  

The most important step a family can take when facing a high-risk pregnancy is to choose a highly skilled provider to help them navigate the unknown.  Many women with high risk pregnancies go on to have happy, healthy babies.  Partnering with Dr. Mehra and his team allows families to rest assured that they are under the best of care, and focus their energies on enjoying the newest addition to their family.