(Joplin, MO) – Dr. Shayna Conner chose her specialty, maternal fetal medicine, after watching her mother go through a high-risk pregnancy.
“When I was in high school, my mom had a high-risk pregnancy,” says Dr. Conner. “I was able to go through the pregnancy with her — the doctors’ visits, amniocentesis and waiting for the results, a complicated cesarean delivery, and finally a good outcome. I was with her for the ups and downs of her pregnancy, so looking back, that experience was influential in my decision to choose maternal fetal medicine as my specialty.”
A St. Louis native, Dr. Conner attended medical school at the University of Missouri, completed her residency and embraced research at Washington University, and worked at Barnes-Jewish Hospital before joining Freeman Health System’s Perinatology Center.
“Freeman is an amazing hospital system that provides high-quality, evidence-based care for women, and I am proud to join the team,” says Dr. Conner. “I was very impressed with the facilities and physicians that I met. Also, Joplin is a lovely little city. I wanted to be somewhere in Missouri that felt like home.”
Having a maternal fetal medicine physician on-site has been shown to lower maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. It improves outcomes for both babies and moms.
“The most common conditions I treat in pregnancy are diabetes, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, obesity, history of preterm birth, multiple gestations (such as twins and triplets), thyroid disease, blood clotting disorders, abnormal ultrasound finds, fetal abnormalities, or genetic conditions,” says Dr. Conner.
Dr. Conner says she is passionate about helping women through their life-changing events. She brings expertise to perform procedures at Freeman that patients have previously had to travel to bigger cities to receive.
“At Freeman, I will be performing amniocentesis, which is done in utero, for the purpose of genetic diagnosis,” says Dr. Conner. “An additional procedure that can now be performed here at Freeman is cerclage placement. A cerclage is a procedure where a stitch/suture is placed around the cervix to decrease the risk of preterm birth in specific cases.”
Dr. Conner says she has a special interest in multiple gestations, maternal cardiac disease, and alloimmunization, but says every patient she sees is equally important to her.
“I approach patients and treat them the way I would want to be treated if I were a patient,” says Dr. Conner. “I try to be accessible and make sure I act as both their physician and their advocate in the care of their high-risk pregnancy. My goal is to reduce risk as much as possible and to empower women to be a partner in their own healthcare. I really like to educate the patient and make them their own advocate. I like to make sure they know they are just as important to their medical care as their doctors are. I find that when patients know the ‘why,’ they understand the ‘what happens next,’ and they can really take control of their health.”
Dr. Conner is married with two children ages three and six. Her family enjoys going to parks, aquariums, and the zoo.
About Freeman Health System:
Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2020, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2020. With more than 320 physicians on staff representing more than 80 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit freemanhealth.com.
Lisa Olliges, Marketing and Media Relations Coordinator
Freeman Health System