Florida Perinatal Center, LLC offers state of the art diagnostic testing, consultation for expectant mothers and pre-natal diagnosis including ultrasound and amniocentesis. Our office also provides routine ultrasound and testing for low risk patients.
Your healthcare provider (OB/GYN, Midwife and/or nurse practitioner) and Florida Perinatal Center’s providers and staff will work closely together to ensure that you have a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Patients are referred to our practice for the following services:
NIPT (NonInvasive prenatal testing/Cell free DNA-Qnatal, Materna 21, InformaSeq, Harmony) This is a screening test that is able to evaluate fetal cells in the maternal blood stream. At this time it is recommended for patients at higher risk for chromosomal anomalies. Please confirm with your insurance company if they will cover you if you are not high risk (studies have shown the test to be accurate for low- risk patients and we anticipate that this test will be recommended for this population soon)
It screens for 3 of the more common chromosomal anomalies- Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome)- an extra chromosome 21, Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 13. It also can detect some sex chromosome conditions where there may be an additional or missing sex chromosome (X and Y chromosome).
This test is not diagnostic- it is not definitive and will only identify if your risk is decreased or increased for these conditions.
Only invasive testing such as CVS (chorionic villus sampling), or amniocentesis can make definitive diagnosis.
Maternal-Fetal Medicine consultation is needed whenever a pregnancy is complicated by medical, obstetrical, genetic conditions, ultrasound abnormalities, medication/drug exposure, or other conditions that can potentially affect the fetus. Medical complications of pregnancy include any medical or surgical condition that has the potential of affecting the developing fetus. Examples include Diabetes, Hypertension (high blood pressure), heart diseases, thyroid diseases (Grave’s disease, hyperthyroidism, etc.), Connective tissue disorders (Lupus, arthritis, scleroderma, etc.), asthma, pneumonia, kidney stones, kidney infections, hepatitis, infections (HIV, syphilis, etc.), cancer, and many other conditions.
All these concerns require careful evaluation by specialists skilled in the care of high-risk pregnancies. A team approach that includes your Obstetrician, your Internist, and a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist is necessary in some circumstances. As a general rule, it is always best to obtain pre-pregnancy counseling with a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist two to three months prior to conception to maximize your pregnancy outcome and avoid deterioration in your medical condition.
During the course of a pregnancy, many obstetrical complications may arise such as vaginal bleeding, early rupture of the sac of pregnancy (membranes), poor fetal growth, hypertension of pregnancy, or diabetes of pregnancy. These complications require careful follow up of your health and the fetal health. Here again, a team approach that includes your Obstetrician and a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist can improve your pregnancy and personal health outcome immensely.
Ultrasound and prenatal screening involve testing for diseases or conditions in a fetus or embryo before it is born. The aim is to detect birth defects such as neural tube defects, Down syndrome, chromosome abnormalities, genetic diseases and other conditions, such as spina bifida, Tay Sachs disease, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, cystic fibrosis, and fragile x syndrome.
Screening can also be used for prenatal sex discernment which may be important in certain genetic disorders. Common testing procedures include amniocentesis, ultrasonography including nuchal translucency ultrasound, serum marker testing, or genetic screening. The earlier that risks are identified may maximize the outcome of your pregnancy.
Fetal echocardiogram, or fetal echo, is an ultrasound that takes pictures of a baby’s heart while the baby is in the mother’s womb. An ultrasound uses sound waves to produce images, so there is no radiation exposure. The optimal time to perform a fetal echo is between 20 and 22 weeks into a pregnancy. (not all conditions can be diagnosed in utero and ultrasound is limited by fetal position, maternal size and other factors not under our control)
Early detection of congenital heart defects—conditions that are present at birth—allows for more careful planning of future care. That is why Florida Perinatal Center is proud to be at the leading edge of prenatal diagnosis. With a fetal echocardiogram, we can detect potential problems in utero. As a result, you have the opportunity to get early treatments best designed to produce successful outcomes.
Preconception counseling is recommended when you have a pre existing condition or family history that may affect the outcome of your pregnancy. This is where a Maternal Fetal medicine specialist will be helpful to you.
For those without such histories it is still recommended that you be evaluated before you get pregnant to review your medical history, your family’s history and heritage, undergo a physical exam, and have any necessary testing including a Pap smear and blood work as appropriate. Any concerns or questions that you have can be addressed at that time as well. You are encouraged to take a multivitamin and folic acid before you conceive.
Once you have conceived, we encourage you to make an appointment as soon as possible with your obstetrician.
Florida Perinatal Center provides genetic counseling to guide you through the complex information about your chances of having a child with a genetic disorder or birth defect – as well as through the testing, treatment, and other options that might be available. The counselor’s role is to translate all the technical and scientific information and to help you sort out your feelings so that you can make informed choices and decide what’s right for you and your family.
Amniocentesis is a procedure performed during pregnancy to examine a baby’s chromosomes. Most often, an amniocentesis is ideally done between 16-20 weeks of pregnancy (gestation). During this procedure, amniotic fluid is removed for testing. The amniotic fluid contains cells that the baby has naturally shed. Cells and proteins within the amniotic fluid are examined in the lab to test for specific fetal disorders. Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is also found in the amniotic fluid and can be measured in the laboratory.
Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS), a prenatal test that diagnoses chromosomal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome, Trisomy 13 and 18, Cystic Fibrosis, Sickle Cell Disease, and a host of several other genetic conditions. CVS is usually done between weeks 10 and 13 of pregnancy — earlier than other prenatal diagnostic tests, such as amniocentesis. The main advantage of CVS is that your patients receive results much earlier, and enable us to work closely with you and your patient in the management of their pregnancy at an early stage.
Eating right is one of the biggest challenges for people with diabetes and pregnant. With our help and support, you’ll learn how to incorporate your favorite foods into a diet that help you self-manage your diabetes. Our dietitians will tailor a nutrition plan according to your food preferences, and provide you with meal planning strategies, weight management tools to understand and manage the patterns of your particular condition.
Family members are encouraged to attend to provide support and positive reinforcement.
The biophysical profile combines an ultrasound evaluation with a nonstress test (NST) and is intended to determine fetal health during the third trimester. This test is performed if there is a question about fetal health and well being resulting from either an examination, maternal/fetal symptoms, or if the pregnancy is considered high risk.
This prenatal test (also called the NT or nuchal fold scan) can help your healthcare practitioner assess your baby’s risk of having Down syndrome (DS) and some other chromosomal abnormalities, as well as congenital abnormalities.
The NT test uses ultrasound to measure the clear (translucent) space in the tissue at the back of your developing baby’s neck. Babies with abnormalities tend to accumulate more fluid at the back of their neck during the first trimester, causing this clear space to be larger than average.
The NT scan must be done when you’re between 11 and 13 weeks pregnant. (The last day you can have it done is the day you turn 13 weeks and 6 days pregnant.) It’s usually offered along with a blood test to estimate the risk of your baby having down syndrome, trisomy 18, or spina bifdia (open spine) in what’s known as first-trimester combined screening.
Like other screening tests, an NT scan won’t give you a diagnosis. But it can assess your baby’s risk for certain problems and help you decide whether you want to have chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis to find out whether your baby is actually affected.