The other day, I saw a new patient in my office. She was 39 years old, healthy, a successful career woman, pregnant for the first time — and scared to death. After trying for two years to conceive, she had finally done it. But instead of being thrilled, she was worried about the potential complications that come with being pregnant as an older first-time mom. After I answered all of her questions, the tension in the room dissipated, and she began to smile. I understood her worry. I could sense her excitement and her guilt over having waited so long. She had married at 37 after spending years focused on her career, and she immediately started trying to have a child. She thought it would be easy to get pregnant, and she was truly surprised when it wasn’t. The attempt had strained her new marriage, so news of her pregnancy also brought anxiety. I understood her because I am her. Only I may never be able to have a child.
Shannon M. Clark, MD, MMS is a double board certified ObGyn and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist, and founder of Babies After 35. In her roles as a clinician, educator and researcher at UTMB-Galveston, she focuses on the care of people with maternal and/or fetal complications of pregnancy. Dr. Clark has taken a special interest in pregnancy after the age of 35, which according to age alone, is considered a high-risk pregnancy.
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