Fetal Medicine

Fetal medicine is a sub-speciality of obstetrics that focuses on the health of the developing foetus and the management of any complications that may arise during pregnancy. Fetal medicine specialists are trained to provide advanced diagnostic and therapeutic services to pregnant women and their unborn babies.

Advanced Diagnostic Techniques in Fetal Medicine

Some of the most commonly used diagnostic techniques in Fetal medicine include:

  • Fetal ultrasound: This is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that uses sound waves to create images of the foetus in the womb. It can detect abnormalities in Fetal development, such as growth restriction, congenital anomalies, and placental abnormalities.
  • Fetal echocardiography: This is a specialised ultrasound that focuses on the foetus's heart. It can detect congenital heart defects, arrhythmias, and other abnormalities in Fetal cardiac development.
  • Fetal MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the foetus. It is particularly useful for detecting abnormalities in the brain and spine.
  • Fetal blood sampling: This involves taking a small sample of Fetal blood to test for certain conditions, such as anaemia, infections, and genetic disorders.
  • Fetal chromosomal analysis: This involves analysing Fetal cells to detect chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, Turner syndrome, and Klinefelter syndrome. 
  • Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT): This is a blood test that screens for certain chromosomal abnormalities in the foetus. It is a non-invasive alternative to invasive prenatal testing procedures such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling.

Advanced diagnostic techniques in Fetal medicine enable doctors to detect and manage Fetal abnormalities and complications earlier in pregnancy, which can improve outcomes for both mother and baby.

Managing High-Risk Pregnancies with Fetal Medicine

Managing high-risk pregnancies with Fetal medicine is essential to ensuring the well-being of both mother and baby. Here are some ways in which Fetal medicine can help manage high-risk pregnancies:

  • Early detection and diagnosis: Advanced diagnostic techniques, such as ultrasound, fetal echocardiography, fetal MRI, and Fetal blood sampling, can help detect and diagnose Fetal abnormalities and complications earlier in pregnancy. This enables doctors to provide appropriate treatment and management, which can improve outcomes for both mother and baby.
  • Fetal therapy and intervention: In some cases, Fetal therapy and intervention may be necessary to manage high-risk pregnancies. Examples of Fetal therapies include Fetal blood transfusions, Fetal surgery, and Fetal drug therapy. These interventions are performed in specialised Fetal medicine centres by experienced specialists.
  • Multi-disciplinary care: High-risk pregnancies require close collaboration between fetal medicine specialists, obstetricians, neonatologists, and other healthcare providers. Multidisciplinary care ensures that all aspects of the pregnancy are managed effectively and that the mother and baby receive the best possible care.
  • Counselling and support: High-risk pregnancies can be stressful for expectant mothers and their families. Fetal medicine specialists provide counselling and support to help manage the emotional and psychological aspects of the pregnancy. They help families make informed decisions about their pregnancies and provide guidance on managing any complications that may arise.

Managing high-risk pregnancies with Fetal medicine requires specialised knowledge and expertise. Fetal medicine specialists play a critical role in optimising pregnancy outcomes and ensuring the well-being of both mother and baby.

When to consult a doctor

You should see a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Vaginal bleeding: Any amount of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy should be evaluated by a doctor.
  • Severe abdominal pain: Severe or persistent abdominal pain can be a sign of a serious condition, such as ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, or placental abruption.
  • Decreased Fetal movement: If you notice a decrease in your baby's movements, contact your doctor immediately. 
  • Signs of preterm labour: If you experience contractions or pressure in your pelvis before 37 weeks of pregnancy, contact your doctor immediately.

It is important to seek medical attention promptly if you experience any of these symptoms or have any concerns about your pregnancy. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications and improve outcomes for both mother and baby.


It is essential to seek medical attention promptly if you are pregnant and experience any symptoms or concerns. Regular prenatal care visits with an obstetrician can help ensure the well-being of both mother and baby throughout the pregnancy.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Bengaluru - Brookefield. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. When should I see a foetal medicine specialist?

You may be referred to a foetal medicine specialist if your pregnancy is considered high-risk due to maternal health conditions, foetal abnormalities, or other complications.

2. Can foetal medicine be used to determine the sex of the foetus?

Foetal medicine can be used to determine the sex of the foetus, but it is not a routine part of prenatal care. In some cases, foetal sex determination may be necessary to diagnose certain genetic disorders.

3. What is the role of a maternal-foetal medicine specialist?

Maternal-foetal medicine specialists are obstetrician-gynaecologists who specialise in high-risk pregnancies and foetal medicine. They work with obstetricians and other healthcare providers to provide comprehensive care for both the mother and the foetus.

4. Can foetal medicine care continue after delivery?

Yes, some foetal medicine conditions may require ongoing care after delivery. Foetal medicine specialists can provide postnatal care and coordinate care with other specialists as needed.

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