Maternal Fetal Medicine

Welcome from the Division Director

John O'Brien, M.D.
Division Director and Professor

The Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine is dedicated to the care of women with high risk pregnancies. We represent a group of professionals with special interests within our field and have physicians listed in Best Doctors in America. We have established programs to provide pregnant women and health care providers throughout Central and Eastern Kentucky unique opportunities to obtain access to our specialized services.

Kentucky Angels Program-This program provides telemedicine services to 12 sites around Central and Eastern Ky. The program continues to grow, providing high risk pregnancy care closer to home. All faculty see pregnant women through secure computer interfaces which extend across the region.

PATHways Program-This program is especially designed to bring multispecialty services to pregnant women who require assistance for opioid use and other substances. Our goal is to provide an effective, transdisciplinary team to focus on each patient. We provide group counseling, individual therapy, and consultation with Addiction Medicine, Neonatology, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Nursing, Social Work and Substance Abuse counseling to oversee complex circumstances in a non-judgmental, non-stigmatizing environment. 

Diabetes Program-The care of women with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes often requires a dedicated specialist who is aware of the latest approaches and technical innovations for the care of pregnant women with this disease. Dr. Karen Playforth has over a decade’s experience focusing on this group of women.

Genetics and Fetal Care-Many abnormalities can be diagnosed by ultrasound and this provides opportunity for physicians to plan optimal care strategies. At our Bluegrass High Risk Ultrasound Unit located at 123 East Maxwell on the campus of Good Samaritan Hospital in Lexington, our group provides advanced sonography. Consultation for a variety of genetic problems is available to patients from the only genetics counselor in the region dedicated exclusively to the care of pregnant women, Natasha Combs. Dr. Nancy Hendrix, a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist with additional training in medical genetics, directs care for these complex cases. Our Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists work closely with the numerous pediatric subspecialists in neonatology, surgery, cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, urology, nephrology, plastic surgery, and others to provide newborns and pregnant women with the most advanced diagnostic and therapeutic options including fetal MRI.

Preterm Birth Prevention-Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists coordinate with Neonatologists to provide care the most advanced care in the prevention and management of women at risk for preterm birth. Our goal is to develop novel interventions in obstetrics and neonatology through research to treat high risk conditions. Dr. John O’Brien, Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine, and Dr. Peter Gianone, Director of Neonatology, coordinate to provide women and newborns access to cutting edge research and protocols aimed to avoid complications when a pregnancy ends too early.

Research Program-Advancing care for pregnant women is a priority of the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine. We have initiatives in developmental programming to study varied gene expression in response to environmental exposures, substance use treatment, and prevention of preterm birth complications. Dr. Niraj Chavan, MD, MPH works closely with colleagues in epidemiology, from the College of Nursing-Dr. Kristin Ashford, Neonatology-Dr. John Bauer, and the Center for Health Services Research to move care forward for pregnant women throughout the Commonwealth and the world. We hope you will consider helping us improve the potential for future generations of Kentuckians.