Do I need a full bladder for any tests performed at Maternal-Fetal Medicine?

No, a full bladder is not required for any of the tests performed through our office. ^

Can I eat or drink anything before my appointment?

Yes, you may eat and drink before your appointment. ^

Can you determine the gender of my baby on ultrasound?

Sometimes an ultrasound performed after 15 or 16 weeks of pregnancy can determine if a baby is a boy or a girl. However, this cannot be seen in all patients and is not a guarantee. ^

Can I have a copy of my ultrasound images?

We do not videotape the ultrasound examination. If you wish, we will be happy to provide you with a picture or two from the ultrasound on the day of your appointment. ^

What is pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH)?

Pregnancy induced hypertension is high blood pressure that begins during pregnancy. Someone whose blood pressure is 140/90 or greater on two or more occasions is considered to have high blood pressure or hypertension. If someone has high blood pressure before pregnancy, then the hypertension would be considered chronic and not induced by the pregnancy. ^

What is gestational diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that causes high sugar or glucose levels in the blood. Our bodies use glucose as an energy source. People with diabetes are not able to change glucose into energy, because they do not make enough insulin. When diabetes occurs only during pregnancy, it is known as gestational diabetes. It can be detected by a glucose tolerance test usually performed around the 28th week of pregnancy. Generally gestational diabetes subsides after pregnancy; however, women with this condition have an increased chance of developing diabetes later in life. ^

What is intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)?

IUGR is a term used to describe a baby who is smaller than expected for the gestational age. This is diagnosed when the calculated weight of the baby by ultrasound is lower than it should be at a particular time in a pregnancy. ^

What is decreased fetal movement?

Generally, a pregnant woman is asked to keep track of the baby's movement or kicking beginning at 24 weeks. Decreased fetal movement describes a situation where the baby's activity, which the mother feels as kicks or movement, are no longer felt or have decreased in frequency. A non-stress test (NST) may be used to monitor decreased fetal movement once a woman has reached 28 weeks. ^

What is pre-term labor?

Pre-term labor refers to a mother who has had cervical changes or monitoring that shows frequent contractions. These findings would indicate a need for closer surveillance and possible medications. ^

What does post-dates or post-term mean?

A woman's due date is considered to be at the end of the 40th week of her pregnancy and is determined by her last menstrual period and/or an early ultrasound. Post-term refers to pregnancies that are after 41 weeks gestation, and post-dates include those pregnancies after 42 weeks. It is recommended that women who are post-dates should have non-stress tests and an amniotic fluid index (which measures the amount of fluid in which the baby is floating) done twice a week. ^

What is polyhyramnios and oligohydramnios?

Polyhydramnios occurs when there are excessive amounts of amniotic fluid or water in the womb. Usually the increase in fluid is gradual, though at times it can be acute with a sudden increase in the fluid and a marked increase in pressure on the uterus. In some cases this extra fluid may lead to preterm labor. ^

Oligohydramnios is when the amniotic fluid level is below normal limits. This may lead to problems because the baby has less space in which to move around. It is most common in post-term pregnancy and may be associated with increased pressure on the baby's umbilical cord. ^

What are chromosomes and genes?

Chromosomes are the tiny inherited structures in our cells that carry our genes. We have 46 chromosomes in each cell of our bodies. They are found in pairs, and we get one of each pair from our mothers and one of each pair from our fathers. Therefore, we inherit 23 chromosomes from our mothers' eggs and 23 from our fathers' sperm. Some people can have extra or missing chromosomes, which cause them to have mental and physical disabilities.

Genes are the instructions that tell our bodies how to grow and develop properly. Genes are made of DNA. DNA is like a code that our cells can understand and translate to make all the substances that our bodies need. Genes are located on our chromosomes. Since we have two copies of each chromosome, one from mom and one from dad, we also have two copies of each gene. Sometimes genes can be damaged so they do not work properly. This can result in a person having mental retardation, birth defects, or genetic illness. ^

What is Down syndrome and trisomy 18?

Down syndrome and trisomy 18 are chromosome abnormalities. Chromosomes are the inherited structures found in all our body's cells. They carry our genes, which are the instructions that our bodies use to grow and develop properly. We usually have 46 chromosomes, which come in 23 pairs. Generally, we get one of each pair from our mothers and the other from our fathers. Children with Down syndrome and trisomy 18 get an extra chromosome, so they have a total of 47.

People with Down syndrome have mental retardation, generally in the mild to moderate range. They may also have heart defects and facial features that are characteristic of the condition. Trisomy 18 is much more severe than Down syndrome. Babies with trisomy 18 have profound mental retardation and multiple birth defects. Most babies with trisomy 18 die by their first birthday, with many not surviving the newborn period. Trisomy 18 is more rare than Down syndrome. ^

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