Lately, several of our patients have asked, "what exactly is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist?"
MFM specialists are fully qualified Obstetricians & Gynaecologists…
All MFM specialists are fully qualified Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. They complete the same specialist training and can offer all the things your regular obstetrician does:
- Antenatal care
- Delivery including caesarean section
- Routine gynaecological care
- Gynaecological surgery
…with extra qualifications and expertise
After completing regular obstetrics and gynaecology training, MFM specialists undergo an additional 2-3 years sub-specialty training in Maternal-Fetal Medicine (high-risk obstetrics). MFM specialists are experts in managing complex pregnancies, for example (http://www.shoreforwomen.com.au/high-risk-pregnancy/):
- Twins and triplets
- Mothers with pre-existing medical problems (e.g. diabetes, thyroid problems, high blood pressure)
- Mothers with complications in a previous pregnancy (e.g. pre-eclampsia, preterm birth, stillbirth)
- VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean)
- Women with a short cervix on ultrasound scan
- Management of small babies
- Babies with genetic, chromosomal or anatomical problems
MFM specialists are also experts in performing obstetric ultrasound and offering prenatal diagnosis (http://www.shoreforwomen.com.au/specialist-ultrasound/):
- Down syndrome screening (nuchal translucency, NIPT)
- Amniocentesis and CVS procedures
- The 18-20 week morphology scan and early fetal anatomy scans at 12-16 weeks
- Twin and triplet scans
- Routine 3rd trimester fetal growth and wellbeing scans
So what does an MFM specialist actually do?
MFM specialists work in private practice, just like other Obstetricians & Gynaecologists. They can look after you in pregnancy, deliver your baby and take care of most gynaecological problems. They are also expert in managing all kinds of pregnancies, from the totally straight-forward to the more complex.
They often work in private obstetric ultrasound practices as well, providing pregnancy ultrasounds and performing specialist fetal tests like amniocentesis/CVS. MFM specialists usually spend some of their time in major teaching hospitals, caring for the highest-risk pregnancies referred in by other obstetricians and physicians. Finally, MFM specialists are usually heavily involved in teaching and research in their hospital.
Dr. Colin Walsh completed 9 years of specialist training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Dublin, New York, Sydney and Cambridge, UK (2002-2011). Following this, he completed a Maternal-Fetal Medicine fellowship at the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland (CCT-MFM). He is an accredited MFM specialist by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London.
Dr. Walsh is currently an MFM specialist at Royal North Shore Hospital and VMO in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at North Shore Private Hospital. He provides private antenatal care and delivery for high-risk and uncomplicated pregnancies and obstetric ultrasound services in his rooms at 460 Pacific Highway. He delivers at North Shore Private Hospital and Royal North Shore Hospital.