What is a perinatologist?

Agnesian Women's Health

Written by: Dr. Randall Kuhlmann

A perinatologist - or maternal-fetal medicine specialist - is an obstetrician/gynecologist that has completed specialty training needed to understand and treat complex medical concerns relating to pregnancy that can involve the mother and her unborn baby. These concerns may be obstetrical, medical, surgical, and/or genetic complications, and may occur during pregnancy, childbirth, the postnatal and/or postpartum periods.

The perinatologist will work in consultation with the primary obstetrician. The extent of the relationship between both doctors varies depending on the condition of the patient.

Perinatologists deal with many risk factors that may adversely impact the mother and/or her unborn baby. Some examples include: pre-term labor, pre-eclampsia, multifetal gestations, previous pregnancy concerns (such as cervical incompetence and miscarriage), diabetes (both gestational and pre-gestational), cardiovascular disease, chronic renal disease, chronic hypertension, congenital disorders (such as cystic fibrosis), neurological disorders (such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis), infectious diseases (such as herpes, hepatitis, HIV and AIDS) , family medical history, eating disorders and substance abuse.

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