Improving Lives of Mothers and Babies | Maternal Fetal Medicine Program at Penn Medicine


Samuel: Maternal Fetal
Medicine Program at Penn offers ultrasound services
to all pregnant women, but then we also offer specialized care for high-risk patients,
women with cardiac disease, diabetes,
reproductive genetics, prematurity prevention. Michal: We are very focused
on a mission to improve the lives of pregnant women
and their children. To us, that mission can’t occur without having both a very strong
clinical side and a strong research side. The research side is
incorporated into what’s called the Maternal and Child
Health Research Center which supports
and encourages research in the field of obstetrics. And this center has really been able to advance understanding, adverse outcomes in pregnancy, which will lead us
to offering new therapies that actually improve the lives
of women and their children. Samuel: This is one of the few
places in the United States where all aspects
of obstetrical care are available within a maternal fetal medicine division. There is a convenience
for the patients in that not only
do we do an ultrasound and identify the problem,
but then we immediately begin to take care
of the problem. For many different
medical conditions, we end up collaborating
with doctors in other fields to provide
the most effective care, and some examples of that would be women with
complex cardiac disease. When these women
become pregnant, their care is very complicated, and we co-manage them
with the cardiologist. And working together and having
all the resources here, and then very importantly, all the intensive care units
available in and around the time of labor and delivery provide the safest care
for these women. – Hi. How are you?
– Good. – I’m Dr. Elovitz.
– Nice to meet you. Michal:
Our goal is always to improve the care of each patient, but we have to think
beyond the moment. We don’t want to just
live in the moment. We want to make a difference
for the future. The Maternal and Child
Health Research Center has really been able to capitalize on the expertise outside of obstetrics. We have colleagues
in immunology, cardiology, bioengineering. These collaborations are pushing
forward the research mission. That does not happen
anywhere but at Penn. [baby cries] Pre-term birth occurs
somewhere between 12% to 15% across the United States. Here at Penn,
we did a 2,000-person study looking at the microbiota,
which is the bacteria that live in
the cervical-vaginal space. No one’s looked at that
in pre-term birth. We did. We hope that the findings
from this trial will actually lead
to new therapies that will significantly reduce
pre-term birth in women. That’s how what we do in the Maternal and Child
Health Research Center can be taken and translated, and actually make a difference in patient care. Samuel: The goal for our program is to provide comprehensive effective care to women while advancing
the care of women through our research efforts and training the brightest
young physicians in the country. – Most research
that you’re involved in at the time of your pregnancy doesn’t affect your pregnancy, but what it does,
it provides us with information that may make a difference
next time you’re pregnant, or may make a difference
for your friend or your sister, or even your daughter.

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