Local News

Pregnant Doctor Finds Herself Following Her Own Advice

Posted March 15, 2006

— Every expectant mom wants to make the best decisions for her unborn baby, but what about when it is the doctor who is having the baby?

At work, Duke chief resident Dr. Heather Whitson hustles between patients and research. At home, she and her husband think more about their expanding family.

"It's pretty exciting," she said.

Whitson said she knows pre-natal vitamins that include folic acid are important, even at the stage of conception.

"I've actually been taking mine for six months prior to pregnancy, which I recommend to all my patients of child bearing age," Whitson said.

Whitson, who is four months pregnant, stays active with walks and time playing with her dog, King Pin. She said she had her share of morning sickness.

"One of the things everyone told me was, 'Wait until that second trimester and you'll feel great,' and they were right," she said.

Whitson stocks her refrigerator with healthy options and makes sure she eats regularly.

She said she is also planning for the time when the baby arrives -- toning down her work schedule two weeks before her due date -- and getting the maximum maternity leave of 12 weeks. She has also made plans for day cares.

Whitson said she enjoys work and she expects motherhood will enhance it.

"Certainly I think being a mother will probably impact the way that I practice medicine," she said. "It's the ultimate training in putting someone else always before yourself."

There are many questions expectant mothers have about what's healthy and what's not that fall in a gray area. For example, many OB-GYNs said if you have a cold, go ahead and take cold medicine.

Whitson is playing it safe. She had a cold and toughed it out. She said she thinks the prenatal vitamins may have contributed to it being a short cold.

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