Premature births, or prematurity, occur when babies are born before the completion of 37 weeks of pregnancy. Some half-million babies are born prematurely in the United States – one of every eight babies. Babies who are born too early (preemies) weigh much less than babies who are delivered at full-term. Their organs may not have had time to be fully developed. Mothers who are at risk of prematurity must receive more frequent obstetric care. After birth, premature babies need highly sophisticated medical care in a special nursing unit called the neonatal intensive care unit or NICU. Prematurity is a risk factor for developmental conditions.
The Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialists at the University of Alabama Birmingham Women & Infants Center are available on-site 24 hours a day to manage problems associated with high-risk pregnancies. Our physicians are experts at managing conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, Rh sensitization, multiple births, premature delivery risk, and other potential complications.
MFM specialists at the UAB have access to treatments that often are not yet available elsewhere, which can reduce the chance of a recurrent preterm birth by one-third to one-half. We are one of the nation’s most advanced MFM programs, as evidenced by being one of only 14 centers participating in the national Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network for high-risk pregnancy research. To support our research we developed Alabama’s first OB/GYN Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, which implemented the first comprehensive first-trimester screening program and the first integrated first- and second-trimester screening program for fetal abnormalities.
Patients at UAB have access to the most up-to-date care, including first-trimester diagnosis, genetic testing and counseling, and 4D-ultrasound and fetal imaging. UAB’s team includes only board-certified MFM specialists as well as specialists with genetics certification. Our program also includes a personal labor nurse and three anesthesia specialists.
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