Donna A. Sanzari Women's Hospital
Each year, the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine performs over 14,000 evaluations on pregnant women.
The team in the Perinatal Diagnostic Unit perform routine as well as specialized obstetric diagnostic procedures.
Ultrasonography (also called ultrasound or a sonogram) is routinely used to examine the fetus during pregnancy. An ultrasound exam uses sound waves that bounce off internal organs to provide an image of a fetus without the hazard of radiation exposure. The Perinatal Diagnostic Unit provides the full range of ultrasound examinations, from dating to detailed surveys of fetal anatomy and targeted sonography. Three-dimensional and four-dimensional ultrasounds are also available to assess certain fetal conditions.
- Amniocentesis—examination of the amniotic fluid surrounding a fetus—is usually done between weeks 14 and 20 of pregnancy and can provide information about genetic factors, the condition of amniotic fluid, and the level of maturity of the fetus.
- You may be referred for amniocentesis if you are age 35 or older, had an abnormal ultrasound or chemical screening, or had a previous child with a chromosomal or metabolic abnormality. It is also recommended for parents who both carry a recessive gene for an inherited disorder.
- Guided by ultrasound, the physician inserts a needle through the abdominal wall into the uterus and withdraws a small amount of fluid to be tested.
Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
- CVS is also used to detect genetic disorders and is usually done between weeks 10 and 13 of pregnancy. It can therefore produce results earlier than amniocentesis.
- During CVS, ultrasound is used to guide the placement of a catheter or needle, depending on whether the test is performed through the abdomen or the vagina. A small sample of placental tissue is removed and examined.
Percutaneous Umbilical Blood Sampling (PUBS)
PUBS is a diagnostic procedure where the doctor extracts a sample of fetal blood from the vein in the umbilical cord. This blood can be analyzed to detect chromosomal defects or infections, analyze fetal hemoglobin (blood iron levels), or look for other abnormalities.
First Trimester Screening
Screening in the first trimester includes nuchal translucency ultrasound scanning and blood tests to see if a baby is at risk for basic genetic and heart defects.
Second Trimester Ultrasound and Blood Testing
This testing complements first trimester screening to enhance our ability to detect certain genetic problems in a baby.
Amniotic Fluid Volume (AFV or AFI)
This evaluates the function of the placenta and a fetus’ kidney health by indirectly checking the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby.
Biophysical Profile (BPP)
This ultrasound exam assesses the baby’s body movements, breathing, and amniotic fluid quantity.
This non-invasive test can be used to assess fetal blood flow through the placenta, which can be related to a fetus’ failure to grow. It may also be used to measure blood flow to the brain to assess fetal anemia (low iron).
Fetal echocardiography is a specialized ultrasound exam used to look at a fetus’ heart.
We use this test to detect abnormalities in the uterus in patients who have had multiple pregnancy losses.
Laparoscopic Abdominal Cerclage
We use minimally invasive surgery in select patients to stitch the cervix closed so the uterus can maintain a pregnancy in women with incompetent cervix.
Fetal reduction is a procedure where a patient chooses to reduce the number of fetuses in a multiple pregnancy to lower the risk of extreme prematurity and improve the chances of a healthy pregnancy outcome.
Each year, the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine performs over 12,000 evaluations on pregnant women.
These evaluations include women who present a whole range of fetal and/or maternal medical or surgical conditions that can complicate their pregnancies.