Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Maternal-fetal medicine specialists focus on the health of you and your baby if complications arise before, during, or after your pregnancy. Our maternal-fetal medicine experts provide you and your baby with the best outcomes possible by working with a team that can care for all of your needs.

Referring providers

To refer a high risk pregnancy, please fill out the Maternal Fetal Medicine Referral Form and fax to 319-356-7556 when completed.

Questions about the COVID-19 vaccine?

We created this vaccine resource for pregnant and lactating patients.

Maternal Care

If we suspect that you have a maternal health condition, you will receive care from our high-risk pregnancy clinic. Conditions or circumstances that may result in a high-risk pregnancy diagnosis include:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Diabetes
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • History of previous complications
  • Liver problems
  • Neurological problems
  • Preterm delivery

Depending on your needs, your provider may connect you with other care providers for services like diabetes education, dietary consultation, social services, or counseling services.

Fetal Care

When the fetus appears to be at risk for health problems, our fetal diagnosis and treatment clinic provides fetal diagnostic testing using specialized ultrasound to look for and diagnose any fetal abnormalities.

Conditions that may require fetal diagnosis and treatment include:

  • Advanced maternal age (over 35)
  • Blood problems, such as sickle cell anemia or idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP)
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Diabetes
  • Fibroids
  • First trimester screening abnormalities
  • High blood pressure (hypertension or preeclampsia)
  • History of previous complications
  • Incompetent cervix
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • Liver problems
  • Molar pregnancies
  • Multiple gestations (for example, twins or triplets)
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Placental abnormalities
  • Preterm labor
  • Stillbirth (death of a fetus during pregnancy)
  • Uterine abnormalities

You may require additional tests or procedures beyond a diagnostic ultrasound, including:

  • Amniocentesis
  • Cordocentesis (fetal blood sampling)
  • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
  • Intrauterine transfusion (IUT) for Rh disease and other disorders
  • Nonstress tests (antenatal testing for fetal well-being)

You may also be referred to counseling services to discuss options for treatment and follow-up and to help answer your questions about future childbearing.

About Your Visit with the Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Care Team

The fetal diagnosis and treatment care team helps to identify potential pregnancy complications. If the care team finds any potential complications, we will provide you with more information about those complications and help you get the care you need. 

During your visit, you may see multiple members of our team, including maternal-fetal medicine specialists, nurse practitioners, prenatal genetic counselors, sonographers, nurses, and fellows.

Your fetal diagnosis and testing appointment has three steps:

1. Ultrasound scan

A sonographer specially trained in fetal diagnostics will perform an ultrasound scan to evaluate your baby’s growth and development.

2. Care team meeting

Your providers and other members of your care team will meet privately to review the scan, discuss your medical history, make a diagnosis if necessary, and determine next steps.

3. Results and care plan discussion

Your care team will meet with you to discuss the ultrasound results. If you need a care plan to manage the rest of your pregnancy, the care team will provide one for you. In some cases, a prenatal genetic counselor will meet with you to explain your results in more detail and tell you about additional testing options and resources.

Please note that our clinic policy prohibits the use of recording devices. While we understand your desire to record the details of your visit, you will not be allowed to take pictures or make sound or video recordings during your appointment.

Telemedicine: Maternal-Fetal Medicine Care at Your Local Provider’s Office

If you’re at risk for complications during pregnancy, you want to be sure you’re getting the best care available. We use telemedicine to bring the experts and resources of University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics to your local provider’s office so that you don’t have to travel to Iowa City.

Our telemedicine services let you and your doctor meet live with a UI Health Care maternal-fetal medicine specialist. We have ultrasound technicians at your provider’s office who have been specially trained in fetal diagnostics at UI Hospitals & Clinics so that an ultrasound can be performed during the telemedicine visit. This service offers:

  • Live virtual ultrasounds with maternal-fetal medicine specialists at UI Hospitals & Clinics who can chat with you in real time and make recommendations for your care plan
  • An easy way for your maternal-fetal medicine doctor to refer you to UI Hospitals & Clinics for further high-risk pregnancy care or labor and delivery

Our goal is to keep you close to home whenever possible so that you can get your routine prenatal care from your local doctor.

Care Team