In Vitro Fertilization Part 2: Do You Have a Plan for Your Pregnancy?

The need for special care when you conceive by IVF 

If you’ve already withstood the many emotional and physical challenges of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and received the happy news you’re pregnant, it’s time to consider the kind of prenatal care you’re going to need to ensure the healthiest pregnancy possible.  Getting pregnant is only a small (but important) part of a 9-month process. Since you have made a significant financial, physical, and emotional investment, you should concentrate on getting the best care.

In babies conceived by IVF, there is a moderate increase in risk of birth defects (up to 100% increase), including open spinal defects, congenital heart defects, and chromosome abnormalities.

Because of the potential for medical problems, if you have conceived by IVF, especially if you’re carrying multiples, you may need more advanced care in addition to that provided by your obstetrician.

Add a maternal-fetal medicine specialist to your team.

Most women who have conceived by IVF get the delivery care they need from their obstetricians. However, due to the increased risk of abnormalities and complications, you should begin such a pregnancy with a consultation and ultrasound from a high-risk specialist.  Maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) doctors are specially trained to evaluate risks to both the mother and unborn baby and provide more advanced care to diagnose and treat problems. As medical subspecialists, they have more expertise and training in performing advanced tests as well as interpreting their complex results.

Don’t wait for a complication to occur before consulting with a MFM specialist. At the High Risk Pregnancy Center, we recommend a first trimester risk assessment that allows us to diagnose problems early enough to minimize your risk or even avoid some of the complications that can harm you or your baby or babies. Our state-of-the art ultrasound technology is so precise, we can conduct your first scan between 11 and 13 weeks to assess your risk for chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, and major fetal abnormalities, such as spina bifida, and major heart defects. At the same time, we can test your blood when needed to detect chromosome problems without the risk of miscarriage associated with invasive tests.

Additionally, due to the increased risk of preeclampsia with IVF gestations, we can perform a newer test to detect 90% of cases of preeclampsia prior to 34 weeks.  If we detect a problem, we can prescribe medication that would decrease this risk by as much as 50% and reduce the complication rate and NICU admission rate for your premium pregnancy.

Should we discover any abnormalities, we are able to provide genetic counseling to help you understand your individual level of risk, the facts about any suspected abnormalities and all options for additional tests or procedures to help you find out all the information possible for the care of your pregnancy.

Learn about how your MFM can work with your obstetrician to manage any risks you may have in our next post.

Go to Part 3