The care and treatment of women whose pregnancies are considered high risk is a medical specialty not available in many communities. In fact, the service is usually only found in large university connected hospitals. In Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley we’re fortunate to have Dr. Margaret Carter, the only full time Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist in the region.
Q&A with Dr. Margaret Carter, Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist
Q: What are some common problems you see in your office?
A: Many of my patients have pre-term labor, pre-gestational and gestational diabetes, hypertensive disease, preeclampsia, advanced maternal age and indications their baby may have congenital anomalies.
Q: Do you provide care through the entire pregnancy?
A: Yes and no, depending on the patient’s reason for the consultation. Some problems may only require a one-time consultation. Other patients may need to be co-managed alongside their primary obstetrician (OB).
Q: When your patients go into labor, do you deliver their babies?
A: No. The primary OB will deliver the patient’s baby. In fact, MFM patients continue to be seen regularly by their primary OB throughout her entire pregnancy.
Q: What is a typical appointment like in your office?
A: First, the patient will be evaluated by the nursing staff. An ultrasound examination will be completed by the sonographer and/or the physician then the patient will be examined by the physician. At the end of the visit, a consultation letter will be sent to the patient’s primary OB with recommendations about treatment plans.
Q: What is the benefit of being seen by a Maternal-Fetal Medicine physician?
A: An MFM specialist provides recommendations regarding maternal and/or fetal complications that may not be seen by the patient’s primary OB physician. They also provide counseling for women who are advanced maternal age, women who have a family history of genetic problems that could be passed to their baby, and women whose babies may have congenital anomalies.
Dr. Margaret Carter is the region’s only full-time Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist. Her office is located on the campus of Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children. Dr. Carter is board certified in OB/GYN and in Maternal Fetal Medicine. For more information about Maternal Fetal Medicine services at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children, visit www.huntsvillehospital.org/mfm.