New Delhi: Leading doctors here on Tuesday underlined the role of fetal medicine in ensuring that the health of the unborn baby was not compromised.
The doctors were discussing the need for early detection of abnormalities in foetuses at a function to mark 10 years of the 'Fetal Medicine' unit at the Indraprashta Apollo Hospital here.
The parents whose babies' lives were once saved through timely interventions and addressing the abnormality also were present at the function.
Dr Anita Kaul, Senior Consultant in Fetal Medicine at Indraprashta Apollo Hospital, stressed the need for widespread use of fetal medicine, and said: "There are chances that of all pregnancies at least 2-3 per cent will develop some complications in the foetus... what better if we can diagnose the issue in-utero."
The Fetal Medicine centre at Apollo started in 2006 and, according to Kaul, is the only one in entire north India -- the other being in Chennai.
"Scientific advances in the last 20 years have raised the hope that many pregnancy complications are potentially detectable from as early as the 12th week of gestation. Fetal evaluation can give patient-specific risk for a wide spectrum of pregnancy complications, including intellectual disability in foetus, preterm delivery, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, fetal growth restriction," Kaul said.
Kaul said the use of ultrasound is the most common way of detecting complications other than using a fetoscope, a tube like device, same as the one used in endoscopy.
She told media persons that the complications in the foetus start developing in the early period of the pregnancy and said: "Fetal medicine has 95 per cent survival rate and good long term impacts ... if it can be addressed in first three months than why wait till eight months or till the birth of the baby."
She also said that if certain complications are addressed within first three months of pregnancy than one can reduce chances of intellectual disability by 92 per cent.
Dr Prathap C. Reddy, Founder Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group, said: "Today, fetal therapy is recognised as one of the most promising fields for expert care for both mother and unborn baby, and prenatal surgery is becoming an option for a growing number of babies with birth defects. We aim to create awareness around timely check-up and scan to ensure the baby's health is not compromised."