For nearly 30 years, the High-Risk Pregnancy Program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has offered the latest in personalized maternal and fetal screenings and diagnostic procedures to expectant mothers. We will partner with you and your primary Ob/Gyn as you prepare for the arrival of your baby. While the majority of pregnancies proceed normally and result in a healthy baby, occasionally complications can occur.
Our prenatal evaluations, fetal monitoring and screening tools are designed to answer your questions and detect or rule out potential issues with your baby’s development. Fetal abnormalities can be minor or serious. Some birth defects involve structural problems, such as spina bifida or a congenital heart defect, which are less difficult to find. Others, such as Down syndrome, require screenings and sometimes invasive testing to be diagnosed. Any information learned during pregnancy about fetal abnormalities can be used to develop an individualized treatment and delivery plan before birth.
Our screening and diagnostic procedures are available to women experiencing high-risk pregnancies, as well as to those with a routine pregnancy who wish to learn more about their baby’s development. The information gathered from these screenings and procedures can ease concerns and contribute to a plan of action if an abnormality is found.
While the majority of our patients ultimately experience a smooth pregnancy, those with complications will meet with a specialist to discuss the findings and develop a plan as needed. Because we work closely with your primary Ob/Gyn, results are immediately sent to him or her. Your Ob/Gyn and a specialist within our group will work together to help you determine the best course of action. Treatment may include fetal procedures, genetic evaluations, maternal therapies, in-hospital care or a special birth plan.
Why Choose Ohio State?
As the only academic medical center in central Ohio, Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center offers patients compassionate and personalized care that incorporates the latest research, technology and techniques. Our physicians are actively involved in clinical research and have participated in the development and testing of many of the screening and diagnostic procedures available today.
Because of our expertise in the field of maternal and fetal screenings and our advanced diagnostic tools and procedures, obstetricians and gynecologists throughout our region regularly refer their patients to Ohio State for screenings. Our team of experienced perinatologists, sonographers, genetic counselors and nurses will provide you with expert, compassionate care that is co-managed with your current doctor.
We offer a variety of prenatal screenings and diagnostics procedures, including:
Amniocentesis – Typically performed from 15 weeks of pregnancy and beyond, this prenatal diagnostic screening identifies or rules out chromosome abnormalities such as Down syndrome, birth defects such as spina bifida and genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis. Information is obtained by studying a small sample of amniotic fluid drawn by needle from the amniotic sac that surrounds the baby.
Cervical Length Assessment – This examination is performed using transvaginal ultrasound, for women who have had a prior preterm delivery that was not the result of a medical condition, those who’ve conceived by any type of assisted reproductive technology, who’ve had cervical procedures or surgeries including cerclage, or who are currently experiencing symptoms of preterm labor. This test may also be performed as a follow-up to a regular abdominal ultrasound (typically between 18 and 24 weeks of pregnancy) to verify an incidental finding of a potentially short cervix.
Cell-Free Fetal DNA Screening – This screening can be performed as early as 11 weeks of pregnancy and is used to learn more about the baby’s Rh blood factor type or potential for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome. This non-invasive procedure includes drawing a sample of the mother’s blood for evaluation of the baby’s cell-free DNA (present in the mother’s blood). Ohio State was one of the testing sites for this new screening process.
Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) – Typically performed between 10 and 12 weeks of pregnancy, this prenatal diagnostic test identifies or rules out chromosome abnormalities such as Down syndrome and certain genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis. Performed by one of our highly experienced physicians, CVS is done by sampling a small amount of tissue from the developing placenta (called chorionic villi). The cells from this tissue are sent to a special laboratory to have physician-ordered tests performed.
Fetal Blood Sampling – Also referred to as a cordocentesis, a small amount of the baby’s blood can be taken from the umbilical cord for laboratory analysis. Our physicians have performed more than 800 of these tests. In addition to helping diagnose and monitor various conditions, specific treatments can also be administered to the fetus during the procedure.
Fetal Echocardiogram – This special type of ultrasound is used to evaluate the structure and function of the baby’s heart before birth. Commonly done as a screening, it helps to determine whether the fetus has a congenital heart defect.
Ultrascreen® Instant Risk Assessment / First Trimester Screening – Ohio State’s Maternal Fetal Medicine Division was the first in central Ohio to offer this faster and more accurate non-invasive screening procedure. This assessment combines blood tests with ultrasound to deliver a personalized risk assessment for Down syndrome, trisomy 18 and trisomy 13. First trimester screening (called Ultrascreen®) allows us to provide you with information about the health of your baby as early as 11 to 13 weeks of pregnancy.
Microarray Analysis Screening – This chromosome screening determine if a person has extra (duplicated) or missing (deleted) genes that may affect growth or development. It is ordered by the physician because you, your child or someone in your family potentially has a genetic condition. This test uses a small blood sample to detect small changes in the chromosomes. The analysis takes three to four weeks to complete.
Targeted Ultrasound – Using state-of-the-art ultrasound technologies, our certified sonographers use this imaging technique to evaluate the baby’s size, position and development. The technology is also used as a component of diagnosing developmental abnormalities. Using sound waves (no radiation), the equipment produces pictures of the fetus.
Doppler Study – This specialized type of ultrasound screening measures the flow of blood through a variety of blood vessels such as the umbilical cord or the brain. These are commonly done to help your OB/GYN offer the best advice for your pregnancy when there are concerning findings..
Quad Screening – This blood test screens for open neural tube defects (NTDs) such as spina bifida and anencephaly, for abdominal wall defects and for chromosome changes such as Down syndrome and trisomy 18. The screenings are performed during the second trimester, typically between 15 to 22 weeks of pregnancy.
With nearly 30 years of experience developing and administering maternal and fetal screenings and diagnostic procedures, our physicians, perinatologists, sonographers, genetic counselors and skilled nursing staff are experts in the field. They will help you understand the findings of these screenings, partner with your primary Ob/Gyn throughout your pregnancy, prepare you for delivery and plan for your baby’s needs after birth.
Ohio State’s Maternal Fetal Medicine
2050 Kenny Rd., Fifth Floor Tower Building
Columbus, OH 43221
For more information, talk to your primary Ob/Gyn or call Ohio State’s Maternal Fetal Medicine Division at 614-293-2222.