Maternal Fetal Medicine
Our specialists support patients before, during and after high-risk pregnancies. We deliver expert care to newborns with special medical needs.
Find your care
Why choose UCLA Health for high-risk pregnancy care?
As leaders in maternal-fetal medicine, UCLA Health offers outstanding care for patients with high-risk pregnancies and babies with complex medical needs. Our specialty team partners with your obstetrician and additional subspecialists to create a personalized and comprehensive treatment plan. We combine advanced diagnostic techniques with a sophisticated approach to maximize your well-being and ensure the best possible start for your baby.
Highlights of our program include:
World-class care for babies and moms: UCLA Health is the premier regional center serving patients with high-risk pregnancies and babies with special health needs. Our experienced team works closely with experts in reproductive genetics, neonatology, pediatric surgery, and other medical and surgical subspecialties to deliver coordinated, compassionate care to you and your baby.
Multispecialty team: If your newborn needs specialty care, you can trust UCLA Health. Our neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) are among the top in the nation. You can expect leading-edge treatments and the highest level of care from renowned experts in pediatric cardiology, nephrology, surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, genetics and developmental biology.
Advanced neonatal care: Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is the only center in Southern California with neonatal and adult extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and labor and delivery housed in the same hospital tower. ECMO is a type of advanced life support. At the UCLA Health Fetal Care Center, skilled specialists can perform sophisticated surgery on infants immediately after they’re born. Learn more about the UCLA Health Fetal Care Center.
Recognized expertise: Our placenta accreta program has been named an Accreta Center of Excellence by the Maternal Safety Foundation. This distinction reflects our advanced expertise in caring for patients with placenta accreta, which happens when the placenta attaches too deeply into the wall of the uterus. We use a multispecialty approach and state-of-the-art technology to treat this life-threatening condition.
Comprehensive support services: Many patients struggle with depression and anxiety during and after pregnancy. To improve the physical and emotional health of patients during pregnancy and beyond, we offer the maternal outpatient mental health services (MOMS) clinic at UCLA Health. You’ll also find support groups, counseling, education and a wide range of resources. As one of only a few OB/GYN departments in the nation to provide in-house psychiatric services, our team is here to support you, every step of the way.
Our multidisciplinary programs
The maternal-fetal medicine team at UCLA Health specializes in helping people with the highest-risk pregnancies. A pregnancy is considered high risk when there are potential complications that could affect the mother, the baby or both. These complications may exist prior to pregnancy or arise during pregnancy.
At UCLA Health, our perinatologists (high-risk pregnancy experts) deliver coordinated care to you and your baby. We’re here for you before, during and after pregnancy, with excellence in:
Our skilled maternal-fetal medicine specialists (MFMs) and genetic counselors offer preconception counseling, gynecologic ultrasounds and advanced genetic testing. We collaborate with reproductive endocrinologists and family planning teams. If you have questions about an existing medical condition and how it might affect your pregnancy, you can rely on UCLA Health.
Working with specialists in reproductive genetics, we help parents with genetic disorders and inherited conditions assess the risk of passing a genetic disorder along to a child. Offering expert guidance, advice and support, we’re by your side to determine the best way forward. Learn more about UCLA Health reproductive genetics.
Advanced prenatal diagnosis and fetal care
Our MFM experts work with reproductive geneticists, radiologists, pediatric surgeons and pathologists to deliver an accurate diagnosis before birth. We use sophisticated imaging, state-of-the-art testing and unparalleled expertise to diagnose tumors and congenital conditions, including heart, lung, craniofacial, skeletal, neuromuscular, gastrointestinal (GI), genitourinary and multisystem disorders. We also specialize in maternal uterine, cervical, placental and amniotic fluid abnormalities.
A precise diagnosis allows us to deliver lifesaving treatments and more effective care as soon as possible. In some cases, our experts can deliver treatments while the baby is still in the womb.
Heart care during or after pregnancy (cardio-obstetrics)
Our multispecialty teams come together to optimize the health of pregnant patients and fetuses with cardiac disease. We help people who had heart disease before getting pregnant as well as patients who developed a heart condition during pregnancy. Our team leads the nation in effective treatments and thorough multidisciplinary care, with involvement from MFM, cardiology subspecialists, radiology, cardiogenetics and family planning experts.
We deliver coordinated care to address changes during pregnancy (such as an increase in blood volume and blood pressure) that can worsen heart problems. Cardiologists are also by your side during labor and delivery to monitor your health and your baby’s well-being.
We also specialize in diagnosing and treating the full spectrum of heart problems in fetuses and infants. If your newborn needs cardiac care or surgery, our pediatric cardiologists are among the best in the nation. Learn more about the UCLA Health Fetal Cardiology Program.
As part of our mission to provide the best care and to share our expertise, our teams conduct two annual symposiums. We educate clinicians around the country so they can deliver optimal care to patients and fetuses with heart disease.
Diabetes and endocrinologic disorders
Our physicians are experts in caring for pregnant women who have type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. We also have extensive experience with other endocrine disorders, including conditions affecting the thyroid, parathyroid, pituitary gland, adrenal gland and pancreas.
To ensure the healthiest possible pregnancy, we start delivering care before you become pregnant. We work closely with your endocrine team and other specialists before and after delivery.
Placenta accreta care
As an Accreta Center of Excellence, we offer coordinated care from a team of specialists with extensive experience treating this life-threatening condition. At UCLA Health, our placenta accreta team includes experts in diagnostic imaging, interventional radiology and urogynecology. We come together to ensure the highest level of care using a holistic, individualized approach and advanced technology.
Cancer and pregnancy (onco-obstetrics)
With world-class oncology and maternal-fetal medicine services under one roof, UCLA Health is uniquely qualified to treat pregnant women affected by cancer. If you currently have cancer, had cancer previously, or you’re at an increased risk of developing cancer during pregnancy, this affects your prenatal care. We discuss how to balance all aspects of your pregnancy and cancer diagnosis or risk to optimize your and your baby’s health.
Our expert team approaches onco-obstetric care from all angles. We focus on the medical needs of you and your baby while addressing your emotional well-being.
Infectious disease in pregnancy
Our MFM team includes world-renowned experts in infectious disease in obstetrics and gynecology. We routinely care for pregnant individuals with cytomegalovirus (CMV), toxoplasma, hepatitis, group B streptococcus (GBS), HIV, syphilis and more.
Multifetal gestation (twins, triplets and multiples)
Pregnant women expecting more than one baby benefit from UCLA Health’s expertise in complex multifetal care. Our specialists work together to improve the health of moms and babies during each pregnancy stage.
As leaders in maternal-fetal medicine, we specialize in helping women with complex multiple pregnancies, including conjoined twins. We also provide advanced care for even the rarest types of multifetal gestation, such as twins that share a placenta (monochorionic-diamniotic twins, or “MoDi twins”) or amniotic sac (monochorionic-monoamniotic twins, or “MoMo twins”).
The UCLA Health twin vaginal delivery team screens patients to determine who is a good candidate for a vaginal delivery. We specialize in vaginal deliveries when the second twin is in a breech position.
Types of high-risk pregnancy conditions we treat
A high-risk pregnancy requires especially close monitoring by a skilled team. Our experienced specialists treat the full range of conditions that can lead to complications during or after pregnancy, including:
Cancer and pregnancy: We have extensive experience helping pregnant women who have cancer or a history of cancer. Our experts also work with women who have an increased risk of cancer and want to become pregnant or to ensure that the genes are not inherited by their fetus.
Cardiovascular disease and pregnancy: Working as a team, we help women with all conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels. These include arrhythmias (heart rhythm problems), high blood pressure, valve disorders and structural problems. Our multidisciplinary team cares for these individuals from preconception to the postpartum period.
Diabetes and other endocrine disorders: Partnering with specialists across UCLA Health, we deliver comprehensive, coordinated care for women with endocrine disorders during pregnancy. These conditions affect how the body produces hormones. They can cause a wide range of symptoms and health problems.
Fetal abnormalities: Our team diagnoses many abnormalities during pregnancy, including limb differences, cleft lip and cleft palate. Early detection of potential problems can speed effective treatment.
Genetic disorders: Genetic disorders can affect nearly every part of the body. Some of these disorders can cause complications during pregnancy or after birth. If your baby has a disorder that has been passed down in the family (inherited) or occurred randomly, a team with specialized training assists in your care.
Infections in pregnancy: We provide expert care for people with infections during pregnancy, including toxoplasma and sexually transmitted infections (STI).
Multifetal pregnancies: Our team cares for mothers expecting twins, triplets and high-order multiples (more than three babies). We address complications that can occur in multiple births, such as preterm delivery.
Placental problems: We’re highly skilled at treating all problems that affect the placenta, including placenta accreta and placenta previa (the placenta covers the cervix).
Diagnostic tests and procedures we offer
At UCLA Health, our high-risk pregnancy team offers the latest diagnostic testing and procedures. Maternal-fetal medicine specialists combine their experience with advanced technology to deliver a precise diagnosis for a wide range of disorders, conditions and genetic abnormalities.
Our knowledgeable, compassionate team is by your side before, during and after a diagnosis. We take the time to answer your questions, explain test results and arrange follow-up consultations as necessary. You receive information, guidance and support in a caring environment.
These tests cannot diagnose disorders, but they give your doctor important information about your baby’s risk of being born with one. We offer:
Carrier screening: A blood test for parents that tells them if they carry a gene that can cause a congenital disorder
Cell-free DNA screening (also called noninvasive prenatal testing or NIPT): A blood test (using blood taken from the mother only) that evaluates the chance of having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality
Sequential or integrated screening: Blood tests (including an alpha-fetoprotein test) that evaluate a mother’s blood to look for signs of a genetic disorder or neural tube defect
Nuchal translucency ultrasound: An early ultrasound that indicates whether you have an increased chance of having a baby with Down syndrome or another genetic or structural disorder
First trimester anatomical survey: A state-of-the-art anatomical survey that provides information as early as possible to individuals who are at high risk of having a baby with a fetal anomaly
These tests help your doctor diagnose a range of health conditions in unborn babies. They also allow your doctor to evaluate certain conditions and plan treatment. We offer:
Amniocentesis: A procedure to obtain amniotic fluid from the uterus to check for chromosome issues and genetic disorders
Chorionic villus sampling (CVS): A procedure to obtain a placenta sample to diagnose chromosome problems that can result in genetic diseases or birth defects
Fetal echocardiogram: A detailed ultrasound of the unborn baby’s heart to check heart development and function
Second trimester anatomy ultrasound: An ultrasound scan that checks for abnormalities in the baby’s anatomy and can identify certain congenital problems
Umbilical blood cord sampling: A procedure that detects chromosomal abnormalities using a blood sample from the baby’s umbilical cord
Advanced genetic testing
At UCLA Health, our experts lead the way in groundbreaking genetic testing. With our advanced knowledge and sophisticated technology, we use blood tests to examine a child’s DNA and identify the exact gene change that caused a genetic disorder.
This detailed information helps us better understand rare and complex disorders so we can deliver effective therapies and treatments. Learn more about UCLA Health reproductive genetics.
UCLA Health maternal-fetal medicine specialists work with geneticists, genetic counselors and licensed sonographers to deliver exceptional care for women with high-risk pregnancies. Neonatologists, pediatric surgeons and leaders in pediatric cardiology, nephrology and gastroenterology come together to care for our youngest patients.