Advances in maternal fetal medicine practice


  • Conflict of interest: None declared.

Dr Woo Syong Tan, Royal Hospital for Women, Barker St, Randwick, Sydney, NSW 2031, Australia. Fax: 02-93826038; email:


Maternal fetal medicine (MFM) is a subspecialty of obstetrics that focuses on identified risk pregnancies. The role includes obstetric ultrasound for fetal assessment and diagnosis of anomalies, invasive prenatal diagnosis and management of pregnancies complicated by maternal medical disorders, multiple fetuses and the antenatal management of extreme prematurity.

Skill specialisation within MFM includes fetal interventions such as fetal shunting procedures, intrauterine transfusion, fetoscopic laser photocoagulation of anastomotic vessels for twin to twin transfusion syndrome and ex utero intrapartum treatment. MFM specialists are actively involved in clinical and basic science research to improve maternal and neonatal outcomes. Most Australian MFM specialists are associated with metropolitan teaching hospitals. MFM sub-specialisation has reduced the impact of disability associated with aneuploidy, structural anomalies, multiple pregnancy and extreme prematurity. Management aims are to give families timely counselling, appropriate intervention, and optimisation of the time and location of delivery. The aim of this paper is to update the reader regarding current advances in MFM practices.