Pregnancy is a wonderful journey that gives the bliss of giving birth to a new life. This 9-month journey becomes wonderful provided appropriate care and precautions are taken. By precautions we mean not only for the mother but also for the fetus or the baby inside the womb. In pregnancy we deal with two patients, the mother and the baby inside her womb.
The expertise to know about the wellness of the unborn (fetus), is called fetal medicine.
What is fetal wellness?
Fetal wellness means good growth of the fetus who has no structural or chromosomal abnormalities which would lead to a birth of a healthy newborn.
Why is fetal medicine important?
One would argue that in earlier days when our parents or grandparents were born there was no such need to go to fetal medicine expert –so why do we need now?
The answer is that in those times there was no technology, no expertise and they usually had more than 1 child whereas today most of us plan a single child or max two. In those days, many children died immediately after birth and no one knew why. Maybe they were abnormal, but now we have an answer to this may be. We can detect many abnormalities when the baby inside the womb – a fetus.
The advantage to this is that the to-be parents know what they are expecting and in cases where the abnormalities are severe or lethal they are given an option of termination of pregnancy under legal limits or if the parents opt for continuation—we respect that provided the mother is not at risk
How and when should we check for fetal wellness?
The wellness starts as early as in the pre-pregnancy and early pregnancy period. Those families who have a previous affected child or an affected family member should come for pre-pregnancy counselling from a fetal medicine and genetics expert wherein they will be made to understand the nature of the disease or abnormality, the type of inheritance it follows and the risk of their child getting a similar disease.
For those who do not have any significant family history can first visit in early pregnancy.