8 Questions to Ask Your Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist

If you’ve been diagnosed with a high-risk pregnancy, you’ll most likely be scheduled to meet with a maternal fetal specialist. This first appointment can be a scary and stressful experience — but don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ve put together some important questions for you to take to your appointment so you can feel confident and comfortable as you begin your pregnancy journey.

Eight Questions to Ask Your Maternal Fetal Specialist.

Maternal fetal specialists are healthcare professionals who have committed their careers to treating people and their babies with high-risk pregnancy diagnoses. A high-risk pregnancy may be because the baby has been diagnosed with a birth defect, like spina bifida, or because the particular type of pregnancy increases risk, like multiples.

Often, you’ll see a maternal fetal specialist if your regular doctor or OB/GYN has noticed a high-risk factor with your pregnancy. These questions will help you get the most out of your first appointment.

  1. Is there anything important I should know about this diagnosis?

For many parents, they may have never even heard of a particular diagnosis until it is attached to their own baby. Your doctor will go over anything important you should know so you can plan and prepare accordingly.

  1. Are there any recommended procedures for this diagnosis?

Some conditions, like spina bifida, can be addressed through in-utero surgery. Others, like fetal heart conditions, benefit from monitoring using a fetal echocardiogram. Your doctor will outline any procedures or tests they consider to be helpful.

  1. Do you recommend an amniocentesis or other diagnostic tests? What are the risks and benefits?

An amniocentesis allows a doctor to examine the amniotic fluid for specific types of protein and other markers. This can be especially helpful for identifying certain conditions that would benefit from early intervention. Your doctor can outline the risks and benefits to this procedure and other diagnostic tests they think are necessary.

  1. What can I expect the rest of my pregnancy to look like?

High-risk pregnancies often don’t follow the same route as a typical pregnancy. You may need to have more frequent appointments, monitoring and possibly in-utero intervention. Your doctor can help you prepare by going over the expected trajectory of your pregnancy.

  1. How often will I need to be seen, and what can I expect at each appointment?

Many high-risk pregnancies benefit from frequent monitoring so that any issues can be addressed in an urgent manner. Your doctor will outline the schedule of appointments so you can plan around work and other commitments.

  1. Are there specific symptoms I can expect during this pregnancy because of my diagnosis?

Some high-risk pregnancies can involve symptoms like high blood pressure, nausea or fatigue. Ask your doctor to give you an overview of what to expect, and what symptoms are considered to be red flags.

  1. What will delivery look like?

Some pregnancies, like ones for multiples, can mean a different birth plan and delivery than you might have originally planned for. Your doctor will help you decide what the best course of action will be for you and your baby.

  1. Are there any support groups for my diagnosis that you recommend I join?

A high-risk pregnancy diagnosis can be stressful and lonely. Ask your doctor about support networks you can access for your own emotional and mental wellbeing.

These questions are designed to help you feel empowered in your pregnancy. Together with your loved ones, your healthcare team and support groups, you can feel reassured that you’re doing everything you can for your baby.

Please feel free to download the template of questions below and take it with you to your appointment. 

  1. Is there anything important I should know about this diagnosis?
  2. Are there any recommended procedures for this diagnosis?
  3. Do you recommend an amniocentesis or other diagnostic tests? What are the risks and benefits?
  4. What can I expect the rest of my pregnancy to look like?
  5. How often will I need to be seen and what can I expect at each appointment?
  6. Are there specific symptoms I can expect during this pregnancy because of my diagnosis?
  7. What will delivery look like?
  8. Are there any support groups for my diagnosis that you recommend I join?

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