Pregnancy guide for women over 35 published |

Pregnancy guide for women over 35 published

Susan Wood, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Take Dr. Kelly Shanahan’s no-holds-barred personality, professional know-how and a growing women’s health trend, and you have “Your Over-35 Week-by-Week Pregnancy Guide” — a book that took her nine months to get published.

It can be found at her year-old Emerald Bay Road practice, Sierra Books and on

“I gave birth to it. Giving birth is very much like writing a book,” said Shanahan, who runs Emerald Bay Center for Women’s Health. “A lot of my own emotions I had when I gave birth to my daughter are in the book.”

She kept a journal and used excerpts in her book.

At age 38, Shanahan gave birth to her daughter, Hunter, now 3 years old, whose picture graces the back cover.

As for the brush with stardom for the Shanahan family, Hunter is as outspoken as Mom.

“We were in the Barnes & Noble in Reno, and she screamed at the top of her lungs, ‘Mommy, there’s your book,'” Shanahan said.

Shanahan had just completed over two years ago the family’s Christmas letter to loved ones, summarizing the year with accomplishments and acknowledgement of the one remaining goal.

“I said, ‘all that’s left is writing a book,'” she said.

In January 2000, Prima Publishing of Roseville approached her because the firm was familiar with the doctor’s Internet articles. The opportunity to write about a little-touched, misconceived subject virtually fell in her lap.

As sexy as it sounds to write a book, the process proved to be an eye-opening experience to the world of publishing — long hours and sacrifices.

“Sleep and my husband got the short end of the stick,” she said.

But Shanahan was on a mission to get the pregnancy word out in a practical fashion, timing her writing when Hunter was sleeping.

Her research showed that the number of women over 35 having babies has increased by a whopping 75 percent in the last half century.

“One thing that’s important is that a lot of older moms think — they’re old — so there are going to be problems. That’s absolutely not true,” she said. “The message I’m trying to convey in the book is enjoy your pregnancy — relish it.”

In the same way Shanahan urges women to be comfortable with their pregnancy, she had fun creating the book.

She used vegetables and fruits to describe the different stages of the fetus.

Her frank and practical discussion continues with breast feeding, which she warns can “feel like hell.”

She criticized other pregnancy books for skirting the pressing issues that come up during the life-altering time. Shanahan gave frank advice with each chapter covering every week of pregnancy, but she insists the book poses no substitute to a women’s doctor.

The format and practical nature of the book has helped others, from which Shanahan has received much gratification.

“She did a great job writing a book that’s educational while making it personal,” said Melissa James, who diligently used the book during her pregnancy.

While in labor with 6-day-old Alexander, the first-time mother referred to the book to figure out whether the pain described as “menstrual cramps on steroids” was indeed the last leg of pregnancy.

Shanahan is continuing her writing career into the autumn years, now working on a collaborative effort to write “Hip Chicks Guide to Menopause.”

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