Foetal Medicine

Advancements in Monitoring and Care for Unborn Babies

Technological advancements in medicine have significantly improved the ability to observe and monitor pregnancies, allowing for better diagnosis of a baby’s health before birth. Foetal medicine is a specialized field focusing on the health and care of the unborn baby, treating the foetus as an independent individual.

Expert Team for Comprehensive Care

This specialty requires a team of experts including obstetricians, specialized ultrasonologists, perinatologists, neonatologists, paediatric cardiologists, paediatric surgical specialists, and geneticists. All pregnancies can benefit from foetal medicine alongside obstetric care. Globally, 2-3 out of every 100 children are born with birth defects, many of which can be prevented with early detection.

Benefits of Foetal Medicine

  • Screening for genetic and chromosomal defects
  • Providing reassurance and reducing anxiety in high-risk groups
  • Predicting and preventing preterm birth, foetal growth restrictions, and issues in multiple pregnancies
  • Preparing parents for the birth of a child with health issues
  • Enabling in utero treatment
  • Planning transfers to tertiary care centers
  • Discontinuing pregnancy if the foetus is affected

Foetal Medicine Procedures

Foetal medicine includes patient and family counselling, as well as various non-invasive and invasive screening and diagnostic tests.

Non-Invasive Testing

  • Ultrasonography: Detailed imaging to monitor foetal development.
  • Foetal heart evaluation by echocardiography: Assessing the baby’s heart health.
  • Foetal MRI: Advanced imaging to evaluate foetal characteristics.
  • Blood tests: Maternal blood tests conducted at different stages of pregnancy to assess foetal health and detect chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome and spinal cord defects.

Invasive Testing

These tests involve surgical procedures, ranging from inserting a fine needle into the uterus under ultrasound guidance to more complex procedures like foetoscopy.

  • Amniocentesis: Collecting about 20 ml of amniotic fluid to analyze foetal cells and fluid.
  • Chorionic villus sampling: Taking a sample of placental tissue for genetic analysis.
  • Umbilical cord sampling (cordocentesis, funipuncture, percutaneous umbilical blood sampling, or PUBS): Collecting blood from the umbilical cord for detailed analysis.

By offering advanced monitoring and diagnostic capabilities, foetal medicine aims to ensure the health and well-being of the unborn baby, providing crucial information and support to expectant parents.