Delivering a healthy baby is every woman’s goal, but sometimes medical conditions require extra attention for the mother and baby. This high-level care is now available in the Heights with the opening of the High-Risk Pregnancy Center at Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital. The Center will be staffed by affiliated maternal-fetal medicine specialists from UT Physicians.
Every Thursday, a team from the Texas Medical Center travels to the Center at M0emorial Hermann Greater Heights to provide onsite diagnostic testing, genetic counseling and highly specialized care close to home for women with high-risk pregnancies. The team includes affiliated physicians with board certification in obstetrics-gynecology and maternal-fetal medicine as well as sonographers and genetic counselors.
“For the first time, women who live in the Heights who need this higher level of care and service can receive it all within the community,” says Sean Blackwell, M.D., the affiliated maternal-fetal medicine physician who heads the specialized Center.
Expert, Supportive Care for Growing Families
Obstetricians refer women to the Center because of medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, twins or multiples, advanced maternal age, genetic conditions, cancer, thyroid disease, blood clotting problems and obesity, or if fetal complications are detected. Some women visit the Center once, while others receive collaborative care throughout their pregnancy from both the Center’s maternal-fetal medicine specialist and their regular obstetrician.
The family-friendly Center, located on the 4th floor of Memorial Hermann Greater Heights, offers a wide variety of advanced tests to monitor fetal development. Among the tests performed are 3-D comprehensive and targeted fetal ultrasounds, biophysical profiles, amniocentesis, Doppler studies, non-stress tests and noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT).
“Up to 40 percent of women have some high-risk aspect to their pregnancy,” explains Dr. Blackwell, who is also professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. “A high-risk pregnancy team partners with the OB/GYN physicians at Memorial Hermann Greater Heights so we can help treat conditions more closely and identify potential complications earlier. Every baby, whether delivered full term or preterm, deserves a healthy mother.”
Because UTHealth’s Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine is one of only 12 premier clinical centers in the U.S. participating in the NICHD-sponsored Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network, women who come to the Center at Memorial Hermann Greater Heights have access to treatments that are not yet widely available. Treatments being studied include those to reduce preterm birth, cesarean deliveries, surgical site infections and postpartum bleeding.
“We are definitely on the cutting edge of treatments for moms and babies,” says Dr. Blackwell.
Fast Access to Higher Levels of Care
Dr. Blackwell also highlights the continuity of care for women and their babies if a serious problem requires immediate, acute intervention.
“The home base for our UT high-risk pregnancy team is in the Texas Medical Center at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital where we have a Level 4 neonatal intensive care unit, plus numerous specialists. If a truly complex or serious condition arises, we can get our moms and babies there quickly for care.”
To learn more about the High-Risk Pregnancy Center at Memorial Hermann Greater Heights, call 713-867-6361, or visit memorialhermann.org/heights.