Advanced Prenatal Diagnosis

Healthy Deliveries

Advanced prenatal diagnosis using imaging technologyEvery pregnant couple wants to give birth to a healthy child. Maternal-fetal medicine specialists at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center are available through all stages of pregnancy to help women experiencing medically complicated pregnancies deliver healthy babies. Our expert staff has extensive experience in the management of the most complex maternal and fetal disorders.

Prenatal Diagnosis Center

Our outpatient evaluation service offers prenatal diagnosis and care for a variety of high-risk pregnancy conditions. Women, particularly those whose medical history includes past obstetrical complications, difficulty conceiving, miscarriage, or a chronic condition such as diabetes, can receive expert advice to plan for a healthy baby.

Our highly trained maternal-fetal medicine specialists use high-resolution ultrasound technology, including 2-D and 3-D ultrasound, to provide comprehensive obstetrical exams. The diagnostic center also offers specialized care for pregnant mothers and fetuses at risk for pregnancy-related complications. Tests are available to help evaluate your baby's health, including sonograms, fetal echocardiograms, non-stress tests, and amniocentesis.

Prenatal diagnosis and care are essential to a healthy outcome for women with diabetes. Our staff works with diabetic women to closely monitor blood glucose and diet and establish an optimum insulin regime, to help keep a mother's blood glucose at normal levels and decrease many of the risks to her baby.

First Trimester Screening

Some expectant parents hope for a girl, others wish for a boy, but all parents have one thing in common: they want a healthy baby. According to the Centers for Disease Control, birth defects affect about one in every 33 infants born in the United States each year.

It is crucial for any birth defect to be detected as early as possible, to better prepare for birth and to optimize outcomes. At Saint Francis, we offer a combined first-trimester ultrasound and serum screening (blood test) to help identify potential problems. The combined first-trimester ultrasound and serum screening is performed early in the pregnancy (usually at 10 to 13 weeks). The combination of a blood test and an ultrasound is very accurate in detecting abnormalities that are otherwise not detected until much later in the pregnancy.

Fetal Diagnostic Unit

When medical problems are encountered during the pregnancy, many of them can be successfully managed safely in the doctor’s office. On occasion, however, the sophisticated services of our Fetal Diagnostic Unit are required. Adjacent to our Labor/Delivery Unit is a five-bed fetal testing unit and a six-room ultrasound facility. Ultrasound allows us to examine the baby to determine whether growth is proceeding normally and whether the necessary amount of amniotic fluid surrounds the baby. Ultrasound can also detect whether the cervix is opening prematurely. In the fetal testing center the baby’s heart rate can be monitored and the baby can be assessed for strength of his or her movement and breathing patterns. These facilities permit precise analysis of how the baby is faring inside the mother’s abdomen.

Cesarean Section

As part of the 14-bed Labor/Delivery Unit there are two cesarean section rooms to which the mother can be quickly moved should the need for cesarean section arise. Immediately adjacent to the Cesarean Section Unit is the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, a 28-bassinet facility in which the newborn can be quickly assessed and his or her problems managed.

Happy Endings

Fortunately most complications of pregnancy are manageable, and with close scrutiny of the baby’s welfare even high-risk pregnancies can be monitored in a fashion that permits a routine vaginal delivery.