What is MFM?


What is Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM)?

A Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist, also called a perinatologist or “high-risk” pregnancy doctor, is a Board Certified obstetrician / gynecologist who has completed three additional years of training in an accredited MFM fellowship. The MFM fellowship is unique in that it focuses on disease processes that affect pregnant women, how a woman’s previous medical complications can affect the pregnancy, and problems that can develop in the fetus (unborn child). An MFM specialist has extensive training in fetal ultrasonography, diagnostic procedures (amniocentesis/CVS), maternal complications of pregnancy, and genetics counseling. By virtue of this training, and technical proficiency, an MFM specialist is able to provide consultation for complicated pregnancies.

Most women seek care or consultation from an MFM specialist after referral from their primary care provider (OB/GYN, family practice doctor, or nurse midwife). They are referred because they are “high risk”, or “complicated,” or worried about their pregnancy and desire an expert opinion on management.

There are many reasons for which a patient may be sent to an MFM specialist. In many cases, a woman may be sent to an MFM simply for routine ultrasound, even if everything is normal in the pregnancy.  


Some examples of patients that may be seen by an MFM specialist:

Pre-existing medical complications that may affect pregnancy: 

  • Diabetes/Gestational diabetes
  • Hypertension 
  • Preeclampsia (Toxemia) 
  • Infectious disease 
  • Thyroid disease

Complications of pregnancy

  • Abnormal screening test for Down Syndrome or Spina Bifida
  • Multiple gestations (twins or triplets)
  • Fetal abnormality on ultrasound
  • History of preterm labor 
  • History of poor pregnancy outcome (fetal demise, placental abruption, etc)

Procedures/Diagnostic tests in pregnancy: 

  • Amniocentesis
  • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
  • Detailed ultrasound

An MFM specialist will collaborate with your obstetrician or midwife to help ensure the best outcome for you and your baby.