Women’s Care is pleased to offer patients the convenience and expertise of Maternal Fetal Medicine doctors who work closely with your ob-gyn and specialize in caring for women with high-risk pregnancies.

Who is considered high risk?

Dr. Kiran Rao, our Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist in Tampa, describes “high risk” as a label that means you are monitored more often, undergo more testing and more ultrasounds, and are referred to the care of an MFM specialist.

To earn this label, you may have health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure. You may also be referred to an MFM specialist if there are problems with your baby, such as birth defects, infections or growth problems.

Disease prevention

Dr. Rao explains there are maternal fetal diseases that pose risks for all pregnant women. Here are some diseases that every pregnant woman should be aware of:

  • CMV, or Cytomegalovirus, is a common virus that can cause cold or flu-like symptoms. It can be severe for the fetus during pregnancy, with the potential to cause neurological disabilities, or deafness or blindness. To help prevent infection, pregnant women should be especially cautious and diligent about handwashing.
  • Listeria is a relatively common disease that can cause GI upset or fever. Pregnant women are ten times more likely to be infected with listeria if they are exposed to it because of the suppressed immune system. Listeria can infect the fetus with growth problems, birth defects, and even miscarriage. This is the reason pregnant women are advised to avoid certain foods, such as cold cuts or unpasteurized cheeses.
  • COVID-19. More than 90 percent of pregnant women recover without hospitalization, yet COVID-19 infection during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of severe maternal illness, ICU admission, mechanical ventilation and death, especially in women with underlying health conditions like diabetes and hypertension. For all pregnant women, adhering to standard preventive measures (universal masking, physical distancing, hand hygiene, prompt testing with isolation and contact tracing) can significantly decrease SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Pregnant women should discuss the risks and benefits of COVID-19 vaccination with their obstetrician before making an informed decision.
  • Zika. While it may not be as prevalent in the news, Zika can still pose a threat to pregnant women, with 5 percent who are infected experiencing a negative effect on her baby. Be especially cautious to protect yourself from mosquito bites during pregnancy.

Be sure to talk with your Women’s Care provider about any concerns during your pregnancy, and rest assured knowing we have Maternal Fetal Medicine physicians in Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville, who work closely with your ob-gyn provider to help ensure a safe pregnancy and baby.

Meet our Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists.

Jacksonville: Dr. Kristy Ruis

Orlando: Dr. Daniel Kiefer

Tampa: Dr. Victoria Belogolovkin and Dr. Kiran Rao