St. Luke's University Health Network

Specialized Obstetric Care

Specialized Obstetric Care

At St. Luke's Perinatal Associates, we know that having a baby is one of life's greatest experiences. But complications during pregnancy can be frightening and confusing. With our extensive training and experience in perinatal care for both mother and unborn child, we can help you deal with conditions requiring specialized care, including:

High-Risk and Critical Care Obstetrics

Our team of Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists, nurses, and sonographers evaluates and treats, together with the referring obstetrician, many high risk pregnancy conditions, which include:

  • Abnormalities of amniotic fluid volume
  • Cervical insufficiency
  • Rh disease
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • Recurrent pregnancy losses
  • Placental abruption and placenta previa
  • Prior stillbirth
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus and other auto-immune diseases
  • Preeclampsia
  • Diabetes
  • Premature rupture of the membranes or preterm labor

Multiple Births

The number of multiple births has increased significantly over the past 15 years. Factors which have contributed to this increase include the use of fertility drugs, in vitro fertilization, and an increase in pregnancies for older women who have an increased chance for a multiple birth pregnancy. These multiple birth pregnancies are considered high risk given an increased risk for multiple problems, which include:

  • Preeclampsia
  • Anemia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Hyperemesis gravidarum
  • Placenta previa
  • Premature rupture of the membranes and preterm labor
  • Fetal growth abnormalities
  • Fetal anomalies

Our Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists offer consultation for women with multiple pregnancies, and evaluate these pregnancies closely with detailed fetal ultrasound evaluations beginning in the first trimester, fetal echocardiography, if indicated, transvaginal sonography for cervical evaluation, and third trimester fetal surveillance, including non-stress and biophysical profile testing.

Pre-Pregnancy Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes

We offer a complete management program for pregnant women with diabetes and diabetic women contemplating a pregnancy in the future. Working in cooperation with your obstetrician, we coordinate a consultation with a perinatologist, a teaching session with a diabetic nurse educator and a diet consultation with a registered dietician to create a comprehensive, customized plan for your healthy pregnancy. Our staff will continue to closely monitor your pregnancy with periodic ultrasounds, regulation of insulin therapy, if needed, and monitoring of the baby's well being using biophysical testing.

Pregnancies after Age 35

Today, many women are waiting to have their first child after age 35. The good news is that most have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. However, women in their mid-to-late 30s and 40s may face some special pregnancy risks, which could include:

  • Difficulty conceiving
  • Increased risk of certain birth defects
  • Pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and premature birth

The Perinatal team provides screening and testing to evaluate and monitor these risks.

Managing Medical Complications and Pregnancy

The Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist and Obstetrician work together to diagnose, monitor and treat medical complications. Depending upon the condition and severity, treatment can include medications, bedrest, increased physician visits, lab testing, ultrasound studies and planning for earlier delivery.

Pre-Conception and Genetics Consultation

Genetic counselors are health professionals with specialized experience in the areas of medical genetics and consulting. They provide information and support to families who may be at risk for variety of inherited conditions. A genetic counseling consultation involves:

  • A complete family medical history evaluation
  • A discussion of the likelihood of being affected by a hereditary condition

Fetal Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures

Amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling are prenatal tests that help you learn if your unborn baby has health problems. We can help you decide whether or not these tests are right for you and make healthcare decisions related to the results.

Fetal monitoring allows caregivers to monitor the baby's heartbeat in the uterus, including during labor. Various types of monitors can be used outside the body (external monitoring) or inside the uterus (internal monitoring).

Biophysical testing uses special ultrasound and monitoring techniques to track your baby's movement, heart rate with movement, breathing and muscle tone, as well as the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby.

Neonatal Intensive Care

If your baby requires special care at birth, it's good to know that the St. Luke's Neonatal Intensive Care Units at both the Bethlehem and Allentown Campuses are leading facilities for highly specialized care for multiple births, premature babies and full-term babies with medical needs.