Medical Definition of Perinatologist

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Perinatologist: An obstetrical subspecialist concerned with the care of the mother and fetus at higher-than-normal risk for complications. Since the perinatal period, depending on the definition, starts at the 20th to 28th week of gestation and ends 1 to 4 weeks after birth, a perinatologist logically could be a obstetrician or pediatrician but, in practice, a perinatologist is an obstetrician. The comparable area of pediatrics is neonatology. A high-risk baby might be cared for by a perinatologist before birth and by a neonatologist after birth. The word "perinatologist" is a linguistic sandwich of the Greek "peri-" meaning "around or about", "natal" from the Latin "natus" meaning "born" and "ologist" from the Greek "logos" meaning "student of."

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018