Fetal medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with the health of the mother and the baby just before, during and after the pregnancy. With the advent of modern technology and advances in medicine, now it is possible to both detect as well as treat abnormalities in the growth of the fetus while it is still in-utero. This ensures that any developmental disorders are identified at a much earlier stage and treatment begins even before the child is delivered. Thereby reducing the chances of birth defects and subsequent complications in the child’s infancy and adulthood.
The significance of fetal medicine can be gauged from the impact that it has on the child’s life post-delivery. Without fetal medicine in most cases, obstetricians would have had to wait until childbirth to discover, diagnose and subsequently treat any disorders that may have prevailed in the fetus. This can cause an undue and, in some cases, even an irreversible delay. Thus, the advent and practice of fetal medicine is very important milestone in pediatric health.
Fetal medicine specialists cater to mother-to-be in the high-risk category, who have had a history of chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney complications, blood disorders, amongst others. Also, fetal medicine specialists work closely with mothers-to-be who may be at the potential risk of developing, pregnancy-related complications such as – multiple fetuses, pre-term delivery, pre-eclampsia and others. All of the above conditions make the growing baby within the womb susceptible to chromosomal or congenital abnormalities, maternal disease, infections, genetic diseases and growth restriction. Each of these conditions are identified and addressed by fetal medicine experts prior to the birth of a baby.