Receiving over 300 referrals each month, the Feto-Maternal Medicine Unit (FMU) at the Women’s Wellness and Research Centre is providing specialised care to women with high-risk and complex pregnancies.
Thousands of women received care at the FMU since 2002, with around 3,000 undergoing specialised prenatal procedures. Last year, over 8,000 fetal examinations were conducted at the Unit, providing treatment to expectant mothers requiring specialised care for maternal or fetal reasons. The Unit, which recently moved from the Women’s Hospital to the Women’s Wellness and Research Centre at Hamad Bin Khalifa Medical City, offers diagnosis and treatment of complications which may arise in unborn babies.
According to Dr Najat Ali Mohsen Khenyab, Head of FMU and Senior Consultant of Obstetrics/Gynaecology at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), pregnancy is normal and in many cases, uncomplicated.
However, some women face difficulties while pregnant and experience complications for a number of reasons, including miscarriage, pre-term labour and pre-term birth, pre-eclampsia (associated with high blood pressure and protein in the urine), abnormal amniotic volume, and diabetes.’
Noor Al Mansoori, who received care at FMU during her recent pregnancy, described her experience as reassuring. She said she was referred to the FMU at 20 weeks gestation due to a suspected fetal abnormality.
I feel fortunate to have received care at this unit. The doctors and nurses were great. The doctor explained the suspected problem and the treatment plan to me and my husband. They explained the situation in a way we could understand and we both felt very reassured that everything would be okay. I have recently given birth to a healthy baby girl at full term.’
Dr Sawsan Hassan Al Obaidly, Consultant Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Obstetrics/Gynaecology, explained that one of the biggest advantages of having a high functioning FMU is the ability to diagnose congenital problems in unborn babies earlier.
We have diagnosed a number of congenital abnormalities in unborn babies such as heart defects (which is the most common type of structural defect in unborn babies), cranio-facial anomalies, spine defects, and organ anomalies. We also see placental disorders including abnormal placental implantation, placental insufficiency, and fetal growth restriction.’
Dr Al Obaidly added that a number of FMU patients are older mothers. She noted that the combination of some women waiting until later in life to start their family, delayed conception due to infertility or other health conditions, and advancements in fertility treatment have resulted in increased demand for the Unit’s services.
The FMU holds four daily fetal scanning and procedure clinics in addition to counseling clinics. Dr Khenyab noted that while a referral from HMC or a primary health care or private clinic is preferred, emergency walk-in patients are accepted. She emphasised that the Unit has gained a distinguished reputation across the region due to a number of patients being referred from outside the country for both prenatal diagnosis and counseling.
The FMU was established to provide the best evidence-based care in fetal medicine and to meet the needs of women in Qatar who are experiencing high-risk pregnancy. This is especially important because of our expanding population and the increased number of women who are getting pregnant later in life.’
In addition to providing core fetal medicine services, Dr Khenyab added that the FMU offers other subspecialty clinics, including a fetal cardiology service and a prenatal genetic counseling service for couples with a history of fetal abnormalities.
Check out this link for more information and updates about FMU.