High-Risk Pregnancy Care
This is Michelle.
She didn't plan on bed rest being part of this exciting time in her life. But that's what can happen with a high-risk pregnancy. We know how stressful that can be. That's why we're one of the few hospitals in the country with specialists available 24/7 to give Michelle and her baby all the support they need. Because we don't just understand high-risk pregnancy, we understand Michelle.
If you have an increased chance of a pregnancy complication or already are experiencing a problem during pregnancy, our highly experienced team of experts provides support and care for you and your baby. The Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine of Lehigh Valley Health Network is equipped to handle nearly all potential complications of pregnancy whether they involve the heart, kidneys, diabetes, genetics, critical illnesses, pregnancy loss, fetal development or any other issue.
We will work with your obstetric care team and are available to assist with your care during labor and delivery when necessary.
Our group of high-risk pregnancy specialists is the largest in Pennsylvania and one of the largest in the country. The physician specialists are supported by a team of special perinatal nurse practitioners, genetic counselors, sonographers, nurses and staff. Our division is recognized regionally and nationally as a leader in complex pregnancy care, providing education for obstetric care providers and in performing valuable clinical research that has helped shape the practice of obstetrics.
In our programs described below, specialists work together to address issues such as preconception counseling; medication use during pregnancy; diagnostic testing and imaging; maternal risks during pregnancy, delivery and the postpartum period; managing your condition during pregnancy, labor and the immediate postpartum period; delivery planning and care after delivery.
To learn more about our maternal fetal medicine program, please call 610-402-CARE (2273).
Our interdisciplinary Recurrent Pregnancy Loss program provides comprehensive services to care for women who have experienced an adverse pregnancy outcome. It includes planning for care before conceiving again, by providing appropriate testing and counseling as well as education about risk reduction strategies before and during a future pregnancy. Our program also aims to educate and counsel providers about early prenatal care and preconception consultation to help reduce the risk of pregnancy loss and/or early delivery in at-risk women.
Women with heart conditions who are either planning a pregnancy or who are already pregnant have a unique resource at Lehigh Valley Health Network. The Center for Heart and Pregnancy is the first program in the region and one of a select few programs in the country that provides multidisciplinary care for pregnant women with cardiac disease. This program allows you to meet directly with both a specialist in maternal fetal medicine (perinatologist) and a cardiology specialist to address heart and cardiovascular problems in pregnancy. If you have either inherited or acquired cardiac disease or new onset of cardiac symptoms during pregnancy, you can find comfort in knowing that a dedicated team is available to assist and help guide you through your pregnancy.
The Pregnancy and Kidney Center is one of a select few programs in the country that provides multidisciplinary care for women with kidney disease who are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy. This program allows you to meet directly with both a specialist in maternal fetal medicine (perinatologist) and a nephrology (renal or kidney) specialist to address kidney-related problems that might affect a pregnancy. This program provides an opportunity to evaluate, diagnose and manage kidney-associated problems to reduced complications to the pregnancy that might affect the health of both you and your developing baby.
There are two types of diabetes that are seen commonly in pregnancy. There are women who already have diabetes who become pregnant (pregestational diabetes) and women who develop glucose intolerance or diabetes during the pregnancy (gestational diabetes). Both types of diabetes are increasingly common and can cause significant problems in pregnancy. Pregestational diabetes is associated with higher rates of birth defects, miscarriage, preterm birth, high blood pressure issues and problems with fetal growth. Women with gestational diabetes may have a similar pattern of pregnancy complications, but they are also at increased risk for developing diabetes outside of pregnancy later in life. Our Diabetes in Pregnancy Program is unique to the region and focuses on the care and management of women prior to, during and after pregnancy who have any form of diabetes. Maternal fetal medicine specialists (perinatologists), endocrinologists, diabetes nurse practitioners, nutritionists and diabetes educators work together in our program to care for women with diabetes in pregnancy and lower the chances of associated complications.
The prenatal diagnosis programs of the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine are among the largest and most advanced in the country. We use state-of-the-art ultrasound equipment to evaluate fetal growth and development from the earliest stages of pregnancy up until the time of delivery. While most evaluations are performed with the latest in 2D imaging equipment, our Doppler and 3D/4D imaging capabilities allow our physicians to perform special evaluations of the fetus when needed. We use non-invasive technology to evaluate fetal growth, identify most birth defects, perform fetal echocardiography, assess the chances for genetic disorders, assess for fetal anemia and determine the overall well-being when there are conditions that might threaten a developing fetus. Importantly, in most situations we are able to reassure you about the health of your developing pregnancy.
In addition to ultrasound, we offer a variety of non-invasive screening programs including first trimester sequential screening for major genetic disorders, second trimester genetic sonography and the newest option of maternal blood testing for free fetal DNA for the diagnosis of several common genetic disorders. We also are able to perform a variety of direct genetic testing through amniocentesis and chorionic villous sampling (CVS) when a developing baby is suspected to have a genetic problem.
Our perinatal genetics program is an integral part of prenatal diagnosis and can help with counseling and information for families who are at risk or who have a suspected genetic problem. We also are able to offer fetal treatments for specific illnesses such as transfusions for severe fetal anemia and medication treatment for fetal heart rate arrhythmias. You can take comfort in knowing that your pregnancy has been evaluated with the most advanced technology that is backed by a highly experienced and qualified team of maternal fetal medicine specialists.
Lehigh Valley Health Network has a level 3 trauma center and is a regional center for perinatal care. That means our team of maternal fetal medicine specialists is specially trained to provide care for pregnancies under even the most difficult, complicated situations. We work closely with our colleagues in critical care medicine, trauma and other related subspecialties to address any problem as needed. We are one of only a handful of institutions in the country that has maternal fetal medicine specialists in the hospital 24 hours a day, seven days per week. This level of safety and support for pregnant woman with a critical illness is unsurpassed in the world of obstetric care.
Lehigh Valley Health Network maternal fetal medicine provides personalized and comprehensive genetic counseling services that focus on the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis and management of birth defects, chromosome abnormalities, hereditary disorders and syndromes before and during pregnancy. Our genetic counselors collaborate with high-risk obstetricians, neonatologists and pediatric specialists to provide the best care for you.
A perinatal genetic consultation involves discussing any concerns you may have for a current or future pregnancy. The discussion is individualized based on your personal questions and concerns. These may include, but are not limited to, risks associated with age, screening results, family history or ultrasound findings. This appointment usually lasts about one hour and will involve reviewing your pregnancy, medical and family histories.