Maternal and Fetal Medicine
The maternity and fetal medicine services are designed to provide optimal care for the pregnant mother, fetus, and newborn. Our subspecialty includes the following units and services:
Our labor and delivery suite consists of 4 private labor and delivery beds (with plans to expand to 8 beds) with their supporting services and a dedicated Caesarean Section room. Our setting provides a highly efficient, safe, and pleasant birth experience to women with both uncomplicated and complicated pregnancies. Our obstetricians are experienced and the in-house anesthesiologists offer a 24-hour epidural service. An annexed operating room is available for caesarean section and obstetric emergencies if the maternal or fetal health necessitates a quick intervention. In cases of emergencies, blood is available on-site through the hospital’s established blood bank service. Most importantly, the highly proficient mid-wife team, supervised by Mrs. Jeanette Slaiby, lends excellent patient support throughout the delivery experience and during the post-delivery period.
As much as 10% of pregnancies may be complicated by significant obstetric or medical problems that may jeopardize the health of the mother and fetus. Since the maternal mortality rate in Lebanon exceeds that in developed countries by at least 6 times (with still-births rate exceeding it by at least 2 times), there is an urgent need for the creation of an antenatal high-risk unit where pregnant women with complicated pregnancies can be monitored within a hospital setting. For this purpose a 3-bed high-dependency unit equipped with twin fetal monitoring facilities and maternal non-invasive hemodynamic monitoring is under planning for operation in 2012. The unit will be meant solely for patients with such conditions as preterm labor, preterm rupture of the membranes, antenatal bleeding, and hypertensive complications in pregnancy and for women with cardiac or renal disease in pregnancy. Currently, these high-risk patients will be cared for using the intensive facilities of Labor and Delivery or the General Intensive Care Unit where need arises.
The fetus is the new patient of the 21st century and effectively there is no “aim for a pregnancy without the fetus”. For this reason we have finalized the procedures for establishing the first serious fetal medicine unit in the Near East, The National Advanced Unit for Fetal Care and Research. This unit is expected to be operational by the second-half of 2010. The Unit aims to treat the fetus as a patient. It will be committed to achieve a high level of clinical excellence in prenatal diagnosis and therapy and be an active platform for research in this field. It is envisioned that the ANUFCR will become the quaternary fetal referral center for Lebanon and the Near East region. The following services will be available through the fetal medicine unit:
- Accurate non-invasive prenatal screening, diagnosis and assessment of fetal well-being using 2D ultrasound, Doppler, and volume (3D/4D) ultrasound, advanced fetal echocardiography, maternal serum cell-free fetal DNA, and fetal MRI.
- Prenatal genetic, hematological and biochemical diagnosis using amniocentesis, chorionic villous sampling and fetal blood sampling. The laboratory aspects will be coordinated with the Institute for Human Genetics.
- In utero ultrasound-guided therapy including fetal blood product transfusion and fetal shunt placement.
- Laser fetoscopy for the twin-twin transfusion syndrome and open fetal surgery in collaboration with an international center of excellence.
- Genetic counseling
- Psychological support
The hospital has a solid history in providing exceptional neonatal intensive care in Lebanon. This service is provided through the Department of Pediatrics and will be upgraded soon to handle highly critical cases resulting from extreme premature births, congenital surgical conditions, and congenital heart defects. **Exclusive care by women in pregnancy and childbirth We are well aware of women’s rights and selective needs concerning their intimate health. For this reason, the department supports the option of exclusive care by women in pregnancy and childbirth. Thus, we will be able to provide this option to those women who wish.
The maternal fetal medicine service is staffed by Dr. Khalil N. Abi Nader. Dr. Abi Nader has completed his residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at the American University of Beirut Medical Center to pursue a specialized fellowship in maternal fetal medicine and prenatal gene therapy at University College London and UCL Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (United Kingdom) where he still maintains an honorary academic position. During this period, Dr. Abi Nader has acquired advanced skills in targeted fetal sonographic assessment, ultrasound-guided invasive prenatal diagnosis and therapy, and the management of complicated pregnancies. He has frequent research publications in his field of specialty and is currently Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the LAU School of Medicine.