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What is a Perinatologist and When to See One

Your obstetrician may refer you to see a perinatologist. A perinatologist is a physician who has completed specialty residency training in obstetrics and gynecology and then completed additional subspecialty fellowship training in high-risk pregnancies and fetal abnormalities. A perinatologist may also be called a maternal-fetal medicine specialist.

There are several reasons a perinatologist may be involved in your pregnancy. First, perinatologists work with patients who have medical problems that may complicate pregnancy such as diabetes, hypertension, or autoimmune disorders, and with women who have had previously complicated pregnancies such as history of preterm birth.

A perinatologist can also assist with patients contemplating pregnancy but who have a concerns about medical problems or family history that might complicate pregnancy and who desire preconception counseling. Perinatologists also help with pregnancies that are high risk because of multiple gestations.

Additionally, perinatologist can provide screening services for chromosomal or genetic disorders with maternal blood tests and/or ultrasound or with diagnostic testing like amniocentesis. Finally, your obstetrician may request that a perinatologist do a detailed ultrasound evaluation of your baby to evaluate for birth defects.