A range of specialist consultants may be involved in your maternity care at UCLH. These may include obstetricians, neonatologists and anaesthetists.
An obstetrician is a doctor who specialises in the management of pregnancy, labour, and puerperium (the time-period directly following childbirth). They have a broad range of knowledge and can vary their professional focus. Many develop unique practices, providing high-quality health care for women, for example in fetal medicine, premature births and diabetes. If you have any existing medical problems or go on to develop medical problems during your pregnancy, you will be referred to an obstetrician. Your midwife will continue to provide antenatal care too.
A consultant obstetrician is the most senior doctor who leads and advises a small team of doctors. Some women will see a consultant obstetrician because they require more specialist input. The maternity unit is covered by a consultant obstetrician 24/7, including being on call.
Neonatology is a subspecialty of paediatrics that provides the medical care of newborn infants, especially ill or premature newborn infants. It is a hospital-based specialty, and is usually practiced in neonatal intensive care units (NICU). The neonatologist, as well as others trained in examination of the new-born, provides the routine newborn check of your baby prior to discharge home from the postnatal natal ward.
An anaesthetist is resident in the labour ward at all times. They provide:
- Anaesthesia for caesarean section (planned and emergency)
- Epidural pain relief for labour (24 hour service)
- Anaesthesia for other occasional operations or procedures related to pregnancy, labour and delivery
The team also take referrals to see women in high-risk categories during pregnancy so that detailed plans can be made for anaesthetic care, even if surgery is not planned, to enable planning for emergencies. This would include problems such as diseases of the heart, lungs or nervous system, but also more common problems such as obesity, which is known to cause problems with anaesthesia.
Prenatal ultrasound (also known as ultrasonography) is a common procedure used in pregnancy. It is a technique used for determining gestational age, number of fetuses, fetal heart activity, and the position of the placenta. Most scans will be performed by specialty doctors. If any problems are identified you may be referred either to the Fetal Medicine Unit (FMU) for more specialist input.
Professor Donald Peebles is the Clinical Director for the UCLH Division of Women’s Health (2015 - present) and is a consultant in obstetrics and fetal medicine. He provides a range of diagnostic and therapeutic services on the Fetal Medicine Unit (FMU) with particular interests in the management of fetal growth restriction, fetal rhesus disease and disorders of fetal brain development.
Donald has a number of research interests that focus on improving the outcomes for women and their babies following complicated pregnancies. He is the president of the Blair Bell Research Society, the showcase for British research in obstetrics and gynaecology as well as a member of the Academic Committee of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. In 2013 he was appointed as co-clinical lead for the NHS England London Maternity Strategic Clinical Network.
Donald is a faculty member of the Infection, Inflammation and Immunity Theme of the NIHR UCLH Biomedical Research Centre.
Professor David offers a range of diagnostic and therapeutic services in the Fetal Medicine Unit (FMU). She specialises in cases where the baby has a structural anomaly, a genetic condition or when the baby’s growth is poor (fetal growth restriction).
She has close links with the talented UCLH neonatal team that are expert in caring for the smallest preterm infants. Professor David set up the Preterm Birth Clinic at UCLH which is now one of the busiest in the UK, providing continuity of care in a nurturing environment. The comprehensive service offers pre-conceptual counselling, a wide range of cerclage and other treatments and predictive tests.
Mr Attilakos is the lead clinician for the Maternal Fetal Assessment Unit (MFAU). In addition to looking after single pregnancies, Mr Attilakos specialises in looking after complicated and uncomplicated multiple pregnancies.
He has a special interest in Postgraduate Medical Education and is the RCOG College Tutor for UCLH. He has co-developed a national course for teaching operative birth skills to junior obstetricians.
Mr Pandya is a consultant in fetal medicine and has been an honorary senior lecturer at UCLH since 2000. He is currently the director and clinical lead of fetal medicine services at UCLH.
Mr Pandya is dedicated to caring for pregnant women and in particular the well-being of their baby. His expertise is in the ultrasound examination of the mother and unborn baby(s) with particular interest in first trimester anomalies, fetal cardiology, surgical anomalies, renal anomalies and fetal therapy. He has done extensive research into screening for fetal aneuploidy and fetal medicine.
Dr Lih-Mei Liao is a consultant clinical psychologist. She is the professional lead for Women’s Health Psychological Services and chairs the UCH Adult Psychology Leadership Team. Currently she provides weekly perinatal psychology clinics as part of the broader Perinatal Mental Health Service.
On the gynaecology side, Lih-Mei provides a range of psychological interventions for adolescent and adult women with congenital pelvic anomalies. Recently she has begun to work with obstetricians, gynaecologists, midwives and advocacy groups to develop brief psychological interventions that target emotional and sexual difficulties related to ‘female genital mutilation’ (FGM). She supervises colleagues on the psychosocial aspects of their research and collaborates with her teams and external academic institutions on a number of projects. She has (co)authored over a hundred publications including care guidances.
Dr Jo Modder is the lead obstetrician for the Diabetes Maternity Service and audit lead for the Women's Health Division. She is Clinical Director (Obstetrics) for the national Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health, where she is currently leading a UK-wide project on obesity in pregnancy. She is currently involved in a collaborative CEMACH and UCL research project on diabetic pregnancy.
Jo sees women with diabetes and thyroid disorders for preconception and antenatal care.
Raf Napolitano was appointed as a Consultant in Obstetrics and Fetal Medicine in 2017. He is the lead clinician for the Ultrasound Screening Unit and one of the developer of the Training Programme in Obstetric Ultrasound and Fetal Medicine. He provides a range of diagnostic and therapeutic services on the Fetal Medicine Unit and the Preterm Birth Clinic along with looking after women in labour.
Mr Pat O’Brien has been a consultant and honorary senior lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology at UCLH since 1999. He is currently the divisional clinical director for women's health.
Pat specialises in maternal medicine and high-risk obstetrics, and jointly runs a multi-disciplinary antenatal clinic involving consultants in fetal medicine, cardiology, haematology, diabetes, anaesthesia, and an obstetric physician. He has a particular interest in medical complications of pregnancy. He lectures widely in the UK and abroad, and runs courses on fetal monitoring, medical problems on the delivery suite, psychiatric problems and cardiac disorders in pregnancy.
Mr Subair is the lead Labour Ward lead obstetrician.
He specialises in labour ward leadership, maternal medicine and high-risk obstetrics. He jointly runs multi-disciplinary antenatal clinics with consultants in diabetes and endocrinology, psychiatry and an obstetric physician. He has a particular interest in complicated pregnancies and regularly teaches on the ‘advanced life support in obstetrics’ course.
He is Chair of the maternity services clinical guidelines and labour care governance committees at UCLH. He is a member of the British Maternal and Fetal medicine society.
Dr Melissa Whitten subspecialised in Maternal and Fetal Medicine at UCLH under the supervision of Professor Charles Rodeck and was awarded subspecialty accreditation by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. She was appointed as consultant obstetrician at UCLH in 2008.
Melissa's role includes a significant educational commitment and she has been instrumental in developing multi-professional simulation teaching and training opportunities for doctors and midwives. She was appointed as Undergraduate Lead for Women’s Health and Men’s Health for UCL Medical School in 2011 is responsible for managing learning and assessment for over 350 students each year.
Dr Williams is an obstetric physician who leads a multi-disciplinary clinical service caring for pregnant women with acute and chronic medical disorders. He leads specialist clinics for pregnant women and women planning pregnancy with kidney disease and hypertension, rheumatological disorders, neurological disease, liver and gastrointestinal disease. His special interest is in the management of gestational syndromes, especially pre-eclampsia. He is chairman of the NICE guideline for the Intrapartum Care of High Risk pregnancies affected by medical diseases. His research group investigate the causes and management of gestational syndromes and the effect of parental obesity on fetal growth and future health.
Mr Wimalasundera is the Clinical Lead for Obstetrics at UCLH and considered one of UKs leading specialists in the management of multiple pregnancies. He manages both low and high risk pregnancies and specialises in the management of multiple pregnancies including complicated monochorionic pregnancies and runs the multiple pregnancy service.
He encourages the natural management of pregnancies but also offers the option of a natural caesarean Section when it is appropriate.