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Advanced Maternal Age Pregnancy

Carrying a life inside of you is one of the most empowering experiences imaginable. However, you can never be too safe when it comes to the health and care of both you and your growing baby. It’s no secret that pregnancies later in life pose higher risks than those occurring before a woman’s mid-30s. Getting pregnant in your mid-30s means you will need extra attention, support, and resources to thrive in your pregnancy journey.

What is advanced maternal age?

The term advanced maternal age pregnancy refers to pregnant women who are 35 or older. In your mid-thirties, we recommend taking additional steps if you are pregnant or considering pregnancy because you are more likely than younger women to develop certain health conditions that may cause complications. Some complications might mean you will want to prepare mentally and emotionally for a C-section birth or labor induction at 39 weeks. If you are older than 35 and already pregnant, you may consider prenatal screening tests to see if your baby is at risk for particular congenital anomalies.

Dr. Heather Stanley-Christian specializes in supporting, monitoring, educating, and caring for women through potential pregnancy complications of any kind, including women considered to be of advanced maternal age.

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What We Do

Fetal ultrasound is an imaging technique that uses sound waves to produce a fetus’s image in the uterus. Fetal ultrasound images allow Dr. Heather Stanley-Christian to monitor your pregnancy, evaluate your baby’s growth and development, and assess possible problems or help confirm a diagnosis.

At Unity Maternal Fetal Medicine, we use General Electric’s Voluson E10 ultrasound machine to provide patients with a comprehensive fetal ultrasound. This state-of-the-art device has 2D, 3D, and 4D imaging capabilities, which helps Dr. Stanley-Christian monitor your baby’s health and identify mission-critical anomalies. This technology encompasses the most advanced imaging capabilities and allows our practice to give you confident answers much faster than with a standard device. Dr. Stanley-Christian uses the Voluson E10 regularly because it provides routine monitoring for high-risk pregnancies.

High-risk pregnancy monitoring allows a healthcare specialist to monitor the fetus during a pregnancy that is considered high-risk. This monitoring service includes fetal monitoring, non-stress tests, biophysical profiles, and ultrasounds for fetal growth. This service will vary based on the condition of the pregnancy. If your pregnancy is complicated, you may need additional monitoring. Monitoring is not just about the technical aspects listed above. At Unity Maternal Fetal Medicine, Dr. Heather Stanley-Christian believes in supporting women comprehensively, including monitoring their overall well-being.

Our expert team of gentle (yet honest) caregivers will educate and guide you through all aspects of preconception, conception, fetal care, and pregnancy —regardless of your health history or pregnancy risks— to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your baby. At Unity Maternal Fetal Medicine, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll be educated and taken care of by Dr. Heather Stanley-Christian, a triple board-certified physician with over 25 years of experience.

Specific genetic counseling relates to any parentally-inherited disorder that may impact the pregnancy or the future adult. Dr. Heather Stanley-Christian provides this service at Unity Maternal Fetal Medicine in Winter Garden, Florida. Not only is Dr. Stanley-Christian a board-certified OB/GYN and Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist, but she is also a board-certified geneticist. Many couples schedule genetic counseling with a counselor, but Dr. Stanley-Christian gives you the benefit of speaking with a medical professional who is more than a counselor.

Nuchal translucency, or nuchal translucency screening, is a specialized ultrasound done during the first trimester of pregnancy. This routine screening can tell you if your child has a chance of developing a chromosomal disorder (i.e., Down syndrome). The results are not definitive and only show the possibility that a baby may have a specific problem. Diagnostic tests, such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis, can determine for sure if your baby has a health issue.

The screening can be done as a standalone appointment under limited circumstances. If you schedule a consultation at Unity Maternal Fetal Medicine in Winter Garden, Florida, Dr. Heather Stanley-Christian can discuss the screening with you.

Amniocentesis (often referred to as amnio) is a diagnostic test that can help determine whether your baby has a health condition. During this prenatal test (usually performed between 15 and 20 weeks), amniotic fluid around your baby is removed from the uterus. The fluid is then tested to determine if your baby is more likely than others to have a specific condition. If the prenatal screening test results or prior ultrasound are abnormal, you may want to schedule amniocentesis. Dr. Heather Stanley-Christian provides this service.

Diabetes Management during pregnancy is a service provided by Dr. Heather Stanley-Christian. If you have diabetes and you are pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant, schedule a consultation. If you develop gestational diabetes during your pregnancy and are concerned with you and your baby’s health, she can help! Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy, usually around 24-28 weeks. Often this form of the disease can be controlled through eating a healthy diet and routine exercise. Some women will also need to take insulin.

A diagnosis does not mean that you had diabetes before you conceived or that you will have it after giving birth. For most women, this form of diabetes goes away soon after delivery. When it does not go away, the diagnosis then shifts from gestational to type 2 diabetes. Even if it does go away after your baby is born, there is always a possibility that you can still develop type 2 later on.

Whatever your journey offers, It is essential to follow your doctor’s advice regarding blood glucose (blood sugar) levels while planning your pregnancy. If you are pregnant and have diabetes, Dr. Heather Stanley-Christian will ensure that you and your baby remain healthy throughout the process.

When you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, education is everything. Allow Unity Maternal Fetal Medicine to provide the knowledge you seek. Here are some common questions of women over 35:

“I’m of advanced maternal age; what can I do to have a healthy baby?”

This is a great question that every future mother should ask, regardless of their age. Whether you are younger or older than 35, there are steps you can take before and during pregnancy to help have a healthy pregnancy and baby. We can discuss your particular circumstances during a private consultation.

“Do I need to schedule any special prenatal tests?”

If you are older than 35, you may want to consider screening tests; maternal blood screening or cell-free fetal DNA screening will check your blood to see if your baby is at risk for specific defects. Please remember that prenatal tests are only for risk screening purposes and do NOT necessarily indicate your baby will have a congenital disability. When you consult with Dr. Stanley-Christian, she will share all relevant prenatal screening details for you to consider.

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