Perinatal Frequently Asked Questions | UnityPoint Health - Meriter

ER - Madison

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UnityPoint Health - Madison


When Should I Call My Doctor?

  • Signs of preeclampsia, such as: 
    • Sudden swelling of your face, hands or feet
    • New vision problems (i.e. dimness or blurring)
    • A severe headache that does not go away 
  • Vaginal bleeding 
  • Fluid leaking from your vagina
  • Fever over 100°F
  • Cramping similar to menstrual cramps 
  • Low back pain or pelvic pressure that does not go away  
  • Regular contractions (with or without pain) for an hour. This means that you have 6 or more in 1 hour or 4 or more in 20 minutes after you change your position and drink fluids
  • If you notice that your baby has stopped moving or not moving as much as usual.

When to Call 911 or Other Emergency Services

  • Severe vaginal bleeding
  • Severe pain in your belly or pelvis
  • Loss of consciousness (i.e. passed out)

What is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) Specialist?

A Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist, also called a MFM doctor or a perinatologist, is an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) who has completed 3 years of additional formal education and clinical experience to provide specialized medical care to women and fetuses with complicated or high-risks pregnancies. The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine provides further information about MFMs.

What is a MFM Fellow?

A Fellow is a doctor who has completed medical school and residency (usually in OB/Gyn) and now in the in process of completing three more years of formal training (i.e. the fellowship) to become a MFM specialist. During these three years he or she is known as a MFM Fellow. He or she is a doctor and is able to act as an attending physician.

What Ultrasounds Will I have During My Pregnancy?

Most women have a dating ultrasound in the first trimester and another ultrasound to check the overall health of your baby in the second trimester (around 20 weeks gestation). If a woman decides to complete the First Trimester Screen to check for genetic conditions, she will have an ultrasound around 12 weeks gestation. Sometimes, due to possible health concerns in the baby or the mother, additional ultrasounds are needed to monitor the baby's growth and well-being.

Can I Videotape or Take Pictures of My Ultrasound?

An ultrasound of your baby is an exciting time during your pregnancy. We will provide you with ultrasound photos of your baby as well as a disc containing the digital images. We understand that some families may want to capture every moment of the ultrasound exam but we comply with the national recommendations from The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine for these medical exams and as such no personal photography is allowed. We appreciated your understanding and cooperation.

Where Can I Find Out More Information About Diabetes And Pregnancy?

The Center for Perinatal Care offers specialized care management for women with diabetes. Our Diabetes in Pregnancy Program helps women with all types of diabetes to obtain glucose control before conception, during pregnancy and after delivery.

What is a Genetic Counselor?

Genetic counselors are health care professionals with specialized graduate degrees in the area of medical genetics. Prenatal genetic counselors collect, review and discuss relevant family, pregnancy and medical histories. They discuss testing options, review information about risks to the pregnancy, provide care coordination, identify supportive resources, and ultimately serve as patient advocates.

What Testing Options Are Available to Me During My Pregnancy?

The decision to pursue testing during a pregnancy is a personal choice. Some common tests that may be discussed include:

What Happens If I Find Out My Baby Has a Health Concern?

Finding out that your baby has any health concerns can be a challenging time and our goal is to help you through this time. The care you and your baby receive will be tailored to your unique needs and that plan depends on what type of concern was found. Some women may need a MFM Consult to discuss decisions about where her prenatal care will occur, who will deliver her baby as well as where and how her baby will be delivered (i.e. can her baby be born at her local hospital or is a C-section needed). Some women may need more ultrasounds to monitor the well-being of her baby or she may need to consult with other specialists to ensure the best possible outcome for her baby. We help to coordinate these appointments and care for our patients.

How Do I Tour the Birthing Center?

The Birthing Center is proud to provide family-centered care and state-of-the-art technology during this special and unique time in your life.  We offer an online tour of the Birthing Center, or you may register online or call (608) 417-8446 to schedule an in-person tour.

How Do I Make An Appointment At The Center for Perinatal Care?

Your primary care provider must fax us a referral to be seen at the Center for Perinatal Care. Once we receive the referral, you may call the main clinic line at (608) 417-6667 to schedule your appointment.

Will My Insurance Cover My Visit?

We recommend that you contact your insurance prior to your appointment to become familiar with your benefits for outpatient hospital clinics.

Why Did I Receive Two Bills In the Mail?

The Center for Perinatal Care is an outpatient hospital facility and billing practices may be different from other clinics. You will receive two bills, one from UnityPoint Health - Meriter hospital as a facility fee, and one from the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation for the physician fee.