As a high-risk pregnancy specialist, Audrey Merriam, MD, MS, says she most enjoys the variety of cases she treats. “Every case is different,” Dr. Merriam says. “And there’s nothing that’s straightforward. Instead, each case requires careful thinking because patients react differently to a disease process.”
Dr. Merriam focuses on a range of conditions, including preeclampsia (high maternal blood pressure during pregnancy), maternal cardiac and kidney issues, genetic defects and multiple pregnancies. “I really enjoy the complex medical conditions we see in maternal-fetal medicine,” she says. “And I love the coordination of care that has to occur, between specialists like me and the patient’s cardiologist or kidney doctor.”
Many of her patients, she says, are apprehensive when they first come to see her. “A lot of women have been told they should never get pregnant, and now they are and think the pregnancy is going to be risky,” she says. “I take it one step at a time, talk them through what I see and how I think their pregnancy will go. I then lay out a plan of care for them and try to put them at ease.”
High-risk cases are more common now, Dr. Merriam says, partly because women tend to be older when they start their families. “They also might be coming into pregnancy with more
preexisting medical conditions, which is why maternal-fetal medicine is so important because we’re here to take care of them,” she says. “We have a lot of specialized services here at Yale New Haven Hospital that you won’t find everywhere, like anesthesiologists who specialize in obstetrics.”
Dr. Merriam is an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine.