Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Some conditions can put a mother or her baby at increased risk for complications during pregnancy and birth. Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood provides comprehensive care for all expectant mothers and their unborn children including those at higher risk for complications. Our Maternal Fetal Medicine Unit is led by Keith Lescale, MD.

Pascack Valley Medical Center provides the finest quality, comprehensive care for all expectant mothers and their unborn children including those at high risk for complications. Our Maternal Fetal Medicine Unit is equipped with the most sophisticated technologies and staffed by Maternal Fetal Medicine physician, Keith Lescale, MD . We're well-prepared to work with patients and their OB/GYNs or family doctor at every stage of the reproductive cycle from pre-pregnancy planning through delivery.

At Pascack Valley Medical Center, every patient referred to our Maternal Fetal Medicine Unit is afforded compassionate, personalized attention. At the request of the referring physician, our team can:

  • Efficiently execute orders for tests and procedures
  • Provide in-depth, ongoing assistance to determine what diagnostic and therapeutic options are appropriate at various intervals, analyze test results and counsel patients

An Array of Options

The testing alternatives at Pascack Valley Medical Center are comprehensive and state-of-the-art. We offer all of the tools needed to help physicians better understand complicated pregnancies and identify patients at greatest risk for certain serious birth defects such as Down syndrome, spina bifida, trisomy 18 and open neural tube defects.


A non-invasive test that can be performed as early as the ninth week of pregnancy utilizing a blood sample from the expectant mother to analyze fetal DNA and help determine whether further later stage testing is warranted.

Sequential Screens

A two-part process implemented at 11-13 weeks and 15-22 weeks respectively that involves two blood sample analyses and anuchal translucency ultrasound.

Quad Screens

Performed at 15-22 weeks, this non-invasive blood test detects the possibility of birth defects via the analysis of certain hormone levels and other indicators.

Nuchal translucency scans

Often used in combination with blood screens, this specialized form of ultrasound measures the accumulation of a specific fluid in the neck of the fetus. The presence of a high fluid level has been linked to many conditions including Down syndrome, trisomy 18, Turner syndrome, congenital heart defects and rare genetic conditions.

Level I and II Ultrasounds

Real-Time 4-D Technology at various intervals in the term of pregnancy, painless non-invasive ultrasound scans can yield a broad spectrum of information ranging from the size and position of the fetus to potential causes of pain and bleeding and the presence of “soft markers” associated with birth defects.

Doppler Studies

Ultrasound flow or velocimetry studies use sound waves to measure the flow of blood through the vessels and can provide helpful information about fetal heart and brain development.


Obtaining a sample of the amniotic fluid is a widely accepted means by which to sample fetal tissue to gather information,detect infections and birth defects.

Genetic counseling

Compassionate and proficient counselors can play a pivotal role in the care of at-risk expectant mothers. Since many types of screens are not definitive and the information they provide must be calculated with other known risk factors such as the patient’s age and family history, genetic advisors can help to determine probability rates and provide meaningful support and referrals to those deemed at greatest risk for dire outcomes.

Biophysical Profiles (BPP)

  • Expectant mothers with certain pre-existing medical conditions are typically encouraged to have BPP studies in the third trimester to check the fetal heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, movement and other characteristics.
  • Phlebotomy and other services that may be needed by at-risk expectant mothers are also readily available for those who wish to schedule multiple appointments around one convenient visit to the hospital.

Candidates for MFM Support

Maternal-fetal consultations are available to both pregnant women and those preparing for pregnancy. Many varied circumstances can signal the need for a perinatal consultation including:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Preeclampsia (toxemia)
  • Diabetes and other endocrine disorders
  • Kidney or gastrointestinal disease
  • Infectious diseases

Prior pregnancy history

  • Recurrent pre-term labor and delivery
  • History of miscarriages or stillbirth
  • Past fetal abnormalities

Recognized risk factors

  • Multiple birth (twins, triplets or more)
  • Premature rupture of membranes
  • Signs of fetal growth restriction (underweight fetus)
  • Smoking, alcohol or illicit drug use