Fetal Assessment Center
Pregnancy usually is a time for celebration, but it also can be a time of stress if the potential for complications exists or you are a high-risk mother-to-be. If you and your obstetrician are worried about possible problems, Banner Desert Medical Center’s Fetal Assessment Center offers specialized testing and diagnostic services conducted by clinicians with advanced maternal-fetal medicine training. Our specially trained staff includes perinatologists, sonographers and perinatal nurses. It’s the first step toward obtaining peace of mind about your pregnancy.
The Fetal Assessment Center at Banner Desert is an outpatient service dedicated to providing accurate diagnosis as quickly as possible. In many cases, you can have the tests performed and share the results with your obstetrician on the same day. We also work with patients who have complications that other physicians and hospitals may not have the facilities or the expertise to manage.
Who should undergo fetal assessment?
You should undergo fetal assessment (and possibly ongoing monitoring) if you have any of the following conditions:
- 35 years old or older at the time of your delivery
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes of any type
- Kidney or heart disease
- Not delivered your baby by your due date
- Excessive or insufficient amniotic (protective) fluid surround the fetus
- Two or more fetuses
- An underweight fetus or overweight fetus
- A history of miscarriages
- A family history (you and the baby’s father) of a genetic disorder, such as muscular dystrophy or cystic fibrosis
- A family history (you and the baby’s father) of birth defects
- An exposure to certain medications or drugs during pregnancy
- An abnormal maternal serum-screening test results
- An ethnic/racial background that puts you at risk for certain genetic disorders
Fetal assessment services
Our Fetal Assessment Center uses ultrasound, fetal cardiac survey, Doppler velocimetry, non-stress test and biophysical profile to establish fetal well-being. These techniques help our staff to determine the best plan for delivering a healthy baby.
- Obstetrical Ultrasound
Sound waves are used to produce images of the baby in the mother's uterus. Ultrasound can identify the presence of more than one fetus, document fetal heart rate, help establish the due date, check on the baby's development and position, and can help to identify defects of the fetus. Our advanced ultrasound techniques allow detailed examination of the fetus, placenta and umbilical cord.
- Fetal Cardiac Survey
This test is used to prenatally diagnose congenital heart disease. Our staff performs a sonogram of the fetal heart when the developing baby is determined to be at risk for heart defects. This may be due to maternal medication use, family history of heart defects, abnormal fetal heart rate or maternal medical disorders, such as diabetes.
- Doppler Studies
These tests are used to study the blood flow to the baby or blood flow in the baby’s head. There are certain conditions that warrant this exam such as intrauterine growth restriction, maternal hypertension or fetal anemia.
- Non-Stress Test
Often used to determine how well the baby's heart rate responds to its own movements, a non-stress test can help assess if the baby is receiving an adequate amount of oxygen. When the non-stress test does not provide enough information, a biophysical profile can be performed. The biophysical profile closely observes the baby's limb, body, and breathing movements, and measures the fluid surrounding the baby.
- Biophysical Profile
The biophysical profile closely observes the baby's limbs, body and breathing movements and measures the fluid surrounding the baby.
A procedure that is done to determine lung maturity or the genetic makeup of the baby. A needle is inserted into the uterus and some of the amniotic fluid is withdrawn and tested.
- Perinatal consultation
For special medical concerns, expert consultation that continues throughout the pregnancy.
Following your tests
In all cases, we collaborate closely with your referring physician, and we strive to return you to the care of your own doctor as soon as possible. However, if you have serious complications, Banner Desert offers a complete range of services to see you through a difficult pregnancy. If appropriate, patients are referred to:
- Perinatologists - A team of physicians who specialize in the complete care of pregnant women with medical or surgical complications during pregnancy
- Level III Neonatal ICU- which cares for high-risk infants immediately after birth
- Level III High-risk Antepartum Unit - to care for the needs of women during a high-risk pregnancy
Banner Desert's Fetal Assessment Center is accredited by the American Institute for Ultrasound in Medicine.