A Perinatologist, also known as a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist, is a Doctor who specializes in the care of high risk pregnancies. Women who are at risk of developing problems, or who have a history of complications during pregnancy, may be referred to this type of specialist care. The goal of this medical professional is to help a woman have a pregnancy that is as healthy as possible, and to address any problems as soon as they emerge.
When referred to a Perinatologist, the encounter usually starts by conducting a routine Ultrasound screening and a patient interview to get background on the pregnancy and the mother's history and to collect some basic information about the baby. The Perinatologist may also conduct additional prenatal testing and diagnostic procedures to identify issues with the baby. After intake, he or she may discuss the pregnancy and the situation with the parents, and if needed, develop a treatment approach that will protect both mother and child. Some of the services provided by the maternal-fetal specialist include diabetes care, management of multiple gestations, ultrasound of the fetus, and genetic testing.
To become a Perinatologist, a Doctor needs to complete a four year residency program in Obstetrics and Gynecology followed by a two to three year fellowship program in Maternal-Fetal Medicine.