High-Quality Care for High-Risk Pregnancies

No woman wants to hear that she has a high-risk pregnancy or that she might experience “complications.” If she does, she’ll want to know about DMC Women and Infant Services, where physicians throughout Michigan refer their high-risk obstetrics patients.

Our Maternal-Fetal Diagnosis Program brings together experts from across our healthcare system, including DMC Women’s Services and DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan physicians and pediatricians. Working together, physicians in the program provide world-class infertility services, prenatal genetic testing, high-risk obstetric care, neonatal intensive care and specialized pediatric surgical services.

All three DMC birthing center locations have maternal-fetal medicine doctors on staff who care for women with complicated or high-risk pregnancies. These doctors are obstetricians who also completed three extra years of training in high-risk pregnancy. Our skilled team is ready for you, no matter where you are on your pregnancy journey.

Expert Care for You and Your Baby

DMC Women and Infant Services physicians provide expert and compassionate care for mothers with serious medical conditions, multiple-fetus pregnancies and pregnancies in which the fetus has a high risk of problems.

A high-risk pregnancy may result from the following:

  • Pre-existing conditions such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, seizure, blood clotting disorders
  • Over age of 35 or very young mothers
  • Mother or baby develop complications during pregnancy
  • Women carrying multiple babies
  • Previous miscarriages or pre-term deliveries

Maternal Special Care Unit at DMC Hutzel Women’s Hospital

DMC Hutzel Women’s Hospital offers a Maternal Special Care Unit, the only unit of its kind in the tri-county area for pregnant women who need advanced care and monitoring during labor and after delivery.

The five-bed unit is a destination for pregnant women with acute medical issues. Specialized physicians and nurses provide 24/7 critical care to pregnant women with serious conditions, including:

  • Pulmonary embolisms
  • Severe pneumonia
  • Severe asthma
  • Stroke
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Severe diabetes
  • Hypoxia (low oxygen levels in blood)

OB Ultrasound and Specialized Testing

DMC Women and Infant Services is home to one of the state's most advanced obstetric ultrasound programs. That's why the program sees high-risk obstetrics patients from throughout southeast Michigan and across the state. We have advanced equipment and expertise that are often not available at other locations, including access to state-of-the-art 3D and 4D ultrasound technology and many other advanced technologies that aren't yet commercially available.

As the home of the nation's only National Institutes of Health (NIH) Perinatology Research Branch, DMC Women Services at Hutzel Women's Hospital is a research and testing center for the latest obstetric ultrasound equipment. Physicians at the DMC have access to some of the most advanced technology and researchers who are using it in innovative ways.

Along with the most advanced technology, our obstetric ultrasound program has some of the most rigorous education and quality standards of any program. The ultrasound technicians (sonographers) and physicians in the program are required to participate in ongoing education and weekly training.

When performing an ultrasound, DMC Women and Infant Services sonographers and physicians are not just looking at the baby's brain or heart, they're looking at the whole baby. Sometimes they find something that has no significance on its own, but when paired with other conditions could become problematic. For this reason, it's important to do a high-level, high-quality scan of the whole baby and really understand how to interpret the findings.

Specialized Tests and Advanced Procedures

The DMC offers additional services for high-risk pregnancies, as needed.

  • Prenatal Genetic Testing - The Maternal Fetal Diagnostic Program provides extensive prenatal genetic testing to detect fetal abnormalities. Testing includes screening for Tay-Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, congenital heart defects and spina bifida.
  • Fetal Echocardiography - Enables the physician to study a baby's heart in greater detail and is extremely useful in detecting heart defects before the baby is born. Once recognized, our high-risk pregnancy doctors in Michigan are often able to prepare for corrective surgery in some fetuses prior to birth or after the child is born.
  • FIRST Trimester Screening - DMC Women's Services is one of only a few in Michigan able to perform this early screening for Down syndrome and trisomy 18. FIRST stands for First trimester Integrated Risk Screening for Trisomy, a test giving physicians and patients valuable information about the health of the fetus as early as 12 weeks gestation. The test is performed using a combination of ultrasound and blood tests. The screening correctly identifies over 85 percent of pregnancies with Down syndrome.
  • Intrauterine Surgery and Fetal Transfusions - Hutzel Women's Hospital is one of the few hospitals in the country to perform intrauterine fetal surgery and fetal transfusions. Advanced ultrasound imaging techniques play an important role in performing and identifying patients appropriate for these therapies.
  • High-Risk Amniocentesis - With their expertise and accuracy in fetal imaging, the ultrasound program at Hutzel Women's Hospital is often involved in amniocentesis procedures with obstetrics patients who are at a higher risk for complications.

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