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Fetal Care

November 06, 2012
Group owner Richard Martine

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Fetal Care

By: Richard Martine   Post Date : November 06, 2012
The department of the hospital dedicated to caring for the fetus during and immediately after pregnancy is called the fetal care department. This department specializes in supporting pregnancies, especially those that are complicated by maternal, fetal or obstetric disorders. This type of pregnancy is known as a high risk pregnancy. Fetal care may include ultrasound services, diagnostic testing, fetal treatment and fetal surgery.

A pregnancy is considered high risk when the life of the mother or baby may be at risk due to complications. A pregnancy may be classified as high-risk for a number of reasons. If the mother is over 35, has a family history of genetic illness or has had a high risk pregnancy in the past, her pregnancy is usually classified as high risk. Other factors that may result in high risk pregnancy include a range of maternal health conditions from Sexually transmitted diseases to cancer. A pregnancy involving multiple fetuses (twins, triplets, etc.) also increases risk.

A range of screening and diagnostic testing options may be utilized to monitor fetal health and development. In many cases, fetal abnormalities can be detected and treated months before the baby is born. This decreases the chance of a premature birth and increases the likelihood that the fetus will survive. Treatments may include surgery, medication, changes in maternal diet, gene therapy, drug therapy and a number of other techniques.

The most common screening test is the sonogram or ultrasound. It is performed for both healthy and high risk pregnancies. This technique uses high-frequency sound waves to produce an image of the fetus. Because a sonogram creates images in real time, the sonographer is able to recognize abnormalities in heartbeat, blood flow and other vital aspects of development.

Amniocentesis is another common screening procedure. During Amniocentesis a needle is inserted through the belly into the uterus to retrieve a small sample of the amniotic fluid. Amniotic fluid is the liquid that fills the amniotic sac which surrounds a fetus. This sample can be tested to detect birth defects as well as to determine the sex of the fetus.

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