Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist
As a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, Shivani Patel, M.D., takes care of women with high-risk pregnancies, including multiple births, mothers with pre-existing health conditions, babies with health issues that are detected in utero, and complications that arise during pregnancy itself.
Treating both mother and baby means Dr. Patel always has at least two patients to consider.
“My goal is to work with the mom, her family, and any other doctors or providers she may have, to get the best outcomes we can for everyone involved – both for mom and for baby,” she says.
High-risk pregnancies can be challenging times for a family, Dr. Patel says. “These women may feel like they’re walking on pins and needles for their entire pregnancy.”
Dr. Patel helps families understand what is going on and what their options may be, which allows them to feel more confident about the pregnancy and birthing process. When there are complex choices to be made, Dr. Patel and the maternal-fetal medicine team at UT Southwestern Medical Center help families navigate those decisions, as well.
“Sometimes what is in the best interest of the mom isn’t in the best interest of the baby, and vice versa,” she says. “So we are always balancing the risk and the benefits of what we do – whether it’s medications or timing of delivery – for mom and for baby.”
Like many maternal-fetal medicine specialists, Dr. Patel often serves as a consultant who co-manages a patient with an obstetrician. But unlike most maternal-fetal groups, the UT Southwestern team also runs an inpatient unit. If there’s a complication or a problem during pregnancy that requires the mother to be in the hospital, Dr. Patel can get her the care she needs.
Some patients also need a maternal-fetal medicine specialist to be there at delivery or to be their delivering physician.
“Most maternal-fetal medicine specialists do not offer delivery services, so we are proud to provide that option to our patients when it’s needed,” Dr. Patel says.
The multidisciplinary approach at UT Southwestern helps Dr. Patel offer the best possible care to her patients, mom and baby alike.
“There are a lot of bright minds at UT Southwestern, so I can consult with a wide range of specialists who are true leaders in their field, and I can bring that expertise to the women I’m caring for,” she says.
And UT Southwestern’s close working relationship with Children’s Health allows Dr. Patel and her colleagues to offer parents the best options when their baby needs extra care.
“When we discover a fetal problem, parents can actually meet the doctors that will be taking care of their child before their baby is even born. They are able to have a plan and an idea of what to expect after the birth of their baby,” she says.
“It’s very rewarding to take a family through a situation that may not look like it’s going to have a good outcome – and then greet a healthy mom and a healthy baby at the end of it,” Dr. Patel says.