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Inova Alexandria’s Antenatal Testing Center helps families with high-risk pregnancies

The Risk Factor

In 2015, Holly Wetzel and her husband Jeremy found out that she was pregnant. The joy was mixed with apprehension, however, as just a couple of years earlier they had suffered through a challenging pregnancy that ended in an emergency delivery and the loss of the baby two weeks later.

Despite that heartbreaking experience, they knew they wanted to try again, even with the risks. Nearing 40 years old, Holly feared that the preeclampsia she had experienced with the first baby could happen again.

“Despite all that, we felt ready to try, and we knew that our doctor would be there every step of the way,” says Holly.

While going through fertility treatments, Holly was diagnosed with a large, non-cancerous, but locally invasive, tumor in her abdomen, and found out two days later she was pregnant. That meant an already risky pregnancy got even more complicated. Sarah Poggi, MD, of Inova shepherded Holly through regular testing at the Antenatal Testing Center, a unique facility focusing on high-risk pregnancies. She coordinated with specialists and surgeons to ensure that Holly got the care she needed — without hurting the baby.

In May 2016, Quinn Wetzel came into the world, a month early (as planned) and already well-loved. “We feel so lucky to have had Dr. Poggi, who feels like family to us,” says Holly, who ended up having successful open abdominal surgery when she was 18 weeks pregnant. “She’s been such an amazing rock, and everyone at the Antenatal Testing Center is 100 percent top-notch. From the front desk to the techs, they are caring, supportive and fun. We felt nurtured and loved the whole way through.”

What Is Antenatal Testing?

In general, the American maternal population is at higher risk because women are having babies at later ages and sometimes having higher-weight babies, according to Dr. Poggi. That means comprehensive maternal care is crucial.

The Inova Brock Family Antenatal Testing Center is the first of its kind in Northern Virginia and features state-of-the-art technology that allows physicians to detect fetal abnormalities earlier than ever. Specialized services include genetic counseling, level II obstetric ultrasounds, 3-D/4-D ultrasounds and other screenings.

“Having this center allows us to be part of a special team that is dedicated to the safety of mothers and babies,” says Dr. Poggi.

Antenatal Testing in Northern Virginia

Call 703-504-7868 to learn more about The Brock Family Antenatal Testing Center or visit inova.org/iahatc.

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