High Risk Pregnancies: Bringing Hope to Life

Joannna Gagis goes on-location to Maternal Fetal Medicine at Virtua campus in Voorhees, New Jersey to speak with Shailen Shah, Lead Physician & Medical Director at Virtua Maternal Fetal Medicine about what maternal fetal medicine is and the role he plays throughout a woman’s pregnancy. Joanna also speaks with Phillip and Michele Madley, who share their struggle to start a family and explain how their maternal fetal medicine specialist helped through this trying time.

5/29/18 #2145






"When Phillip and Michelle first married, they had everything to look forward to. Including starting a family together. But as the years passed, it became clear that their journey would take a different course. It took us a long time to be pregnant. We tried, on and off, for literally seven years. There were parts of our lives that... we were just gonna give up. We were just gonna say, "You know what? We're happy where we are. And let's travel." So we went to go give it one last shot. And it worked. But it worked. But then, it didn't work to perfection, the fairy tale that everyone's looking for. It was early on in Michelle's pregnancy when she was referred to the Maternal Fetal Medicine team here at Virtua, led by Doctor Shailen Shah. Like so many other women, she came here scared, and unsure of what the future held. But hopeful that this pregnancy would end with the joy of new life. At 16 weeks, we got the first inkling that something's really off here. Baby B isn't growing the way that she should be. Baby A looks good. She looks great. Baby B, on the other hand, a little small at the 20 week anatomy scan, and you go home, and you're like, "Just get me through the 20 week anatomy scan." Make sure that, you know, they have ten fingers and ten toes, and everybody's good, and that's when the shoe dropped. And it was, we really need to monitor you. Maternal Fetal Medicine monitors patients with conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, women with preeclampsia, autoimmune or genetic disorders, and for age. Women who are over 35. Or like Michelle, who are pregnant with twins. How are you? How are you? The two most important things I monitor from the baby's point of view is the weight and growth of the baby. Because a baby that's growing well tells me that the placenta, the organ that delivers oxygen and food and nutrients from mom to the baby, is functioning well. The other thing is the baby's movement. Because that also tells me, just like us, when we're not feeling well, or we're winded, we want to rest. We don't want to move. Babies are no different. So a moving baby tells me that the baby is happy. From the mom's side of things, I am alerted to if her symptoms outweigh what would be normal for a pregnancy. Of course..."