What is a perinatologist?
A perinatologist (otherwise known as a Maternal-Fetal-Medicine specialist or high risk obstetrician) is a subspecialty trained physician skilled in ultrasound, prenatal diagnosis and the care of complicated pregnancies. After finishing four years of medical school, a perinatologist must complete a four year residency in obstetrics and gynecology and then an additional three year fellowship in perinatology.
Why am I being referred to a perinatologist for my ultrasound – can’t I have it done anywhere?
A quality fetal ultrasound requires state of the art equipment, specially trained sonographers and perinatologists skilled at both obtaining and interpreting the images. Unlike hospital settings where radiology departments read CT scans, chest x-rays, gallbladder ultrasounds, MRIs, mammograms and a host of other studies, we perform only fetal ultrasounds. In fact, we perform over 18,000 such studies each year with individual attention to each and every one.
I think my pregnancy may be high risk – how do I see a perinatologist?
We are fortunate to have quality, knowledgeable, caring obstetricians in our area – most of who can care for the majority of common pregnancy complications. Ask your obstetrician if he or she believes your pregnancy to be complicated enough to warrant a perinatal consultation or complete perinatal care. If they believe your pregnancy requires a perinatologist’s input you will be referred by your obstetrician for a consultation. Following that consultation, if the perinatologist and/or your primary obstetrician believe your care would be better suited to a perinatal practice – your care will be assumed by Diablo Valley Perinatal Associates.
Which patients might benefit from a perinatal consultation/care?
Any given pregnancy may be complicated by pre-existing maternal, current obstetrical or fetal condition that warrants perinatal care. Common pre-existing maternal medical conditions routinely seen by our perinatologists include type 1 diabetes, chronic hypertension, autoimmune disorders, collagen vascular disease and maternal heart or pulmonary disease. Frequent obstetrical complications regularly seen by our practice include cervical incompetence, gestational hypertension, preeclampsia and preterm labor. Fetal complications including growth abnormalities, congenital anomalies (birth defects), genetic disorders, chromosome abnormalities and high order multiple gestations (triplets and quadruplets) are also common reasons for a woman to be referred for perinatal care at Diablo Valley Perinatal Associates.
Dr. Traynor and his staff treated my twin pregnancy with incredible warmth and dedication. I know that they provided me with the best care available from the beginning to delivery. Dr. Traynor always made time to thoroughly answer all of my many questions and was never rushed. Dr. Traynor has a peaceful way about him that made my pregnancy and delivery as calm and stress-free as possible. My husband and I forever will be extremely grateful for the wonderful care he provided that resulted in the arrival of our healthy beautiful twin daughters. Words cannot express how thankful we are.
A Perinatologist's Perspective:
Antenatal testing is without a doubt - inconvenient. Twice weekly visits to undergo antenatal testing between 32 weeks and the delivery of your baby is a real time committment and disruptive to work, family and social calendars. As care providers, we empathize. But the benefits of antenatal testing far outweigh the horror of a stillbirth that may have been preventable.