What is Maternal Fetal Medicine?
Maternal fetal medicine (MFM) is the sub-specialty of obstetrics also known as perinatology or high-risk obstetrics. MFM physicians specialize in caring for expectant mothers and their unborn baby who may have health concerns before birth or after delivery. Dr. Stephen Pedron is the first and only perinatologist to practice full-time in Cedar Rapids. As a perinatologist, Dr. Pedron manages maternal care for diabetes, hypertension, obesity, lupus, history of pregnancy loss, fetal conditions such growth restriction, birth defects, decreased amniotic fluid, pregnancy complications such as multiple gestation, preterm labor and preeclampsia, advanced maternal age, family history of genetic disorders and other conditions.
Care for High Risk Pregnancy
“A high-risk pregnancy is really any pregnancy that does not result in a completely healthy mom and baby born full-term,” explains Dr. Pedron. “There are varying levels of high-risk pregnancies. For example, on the lower end of risk might be a healthy fraternal twin pregnancy, on the higher end, I may see a mother with breast cancer, an individual who suffered a heart attack or a fetus with a serious heart defect. Sometimes mothers and babies each have their own complications and we treat them both.”
For the most part, patients are referred to see Dr. Pedron through their healthcare provider when there is a concern with a patient’s pregnancy. In some cases, Dr. Pedron will also see patients who self-refer. “When I see a pregnant patient in the clinic she can expect to have an ultrasound of her baby, then we sit down and thoroughly review, understand, and develop a plan of care to help manage her pregnancy,” explains Dr. Pedron.
The perinatologist works in collaboration with the woman’s regular obstetrician. "The obstetrician is captain of the care plan, although technically the patient is always in control of her care," says Dr. Pedron. "I act as a consultant in co-managing the plan of care. For some expectant moms one visit with me is enough. For other pregnant patients such as individuals with diabetes, I may see her regularly during the pregnancy. The patient will continue regular care with her obstetrician who delivers the baby, hopefully full-term. Ultimately when that day comes both mom and baby are as healthy as can be."
If you would like to learn more or speak with Dr. Pedron, call the UnityPoint Clinic Maternal Fetal Medicine at (319) 297-9350.