John O'Brien, MD

Welcome from the Division Director

The UK College of Medicine 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.

John O'Brien, MD
Division Director and Professor

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Kentucky Angels Program

This program provides telemedicine services to 11 sites around central and eastern Kentucky. 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.

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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.

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Preterm Birth Prevention

Maternal fetal medicine specialists coordinate with neonatologists to provide the most advanced care in the prevention and management of women at risk for preterm birth. At UK, women and newborns access to cutting edge research and protocols aimed to avoid complications when a pregnancy ends too early.

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PATHways Program

This program brings 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 in a non-judgmental, non-stigmatizing environment.

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.

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.