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Whitney Bender, MD

Whitney Bender, MD

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Specialty

Maternal Fetal Medicine
Obstetrics and Gynecology

Department

OB/GYN

Locations

Stony Point 9105

9105 Stony Point Dr.
Richmond, VA 23235
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Adult Outpatient Pavilion

1001 E. Leigh Street
Richmond, VA 23219
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Education

Medical School

University of Virginia School of Medicine

Residency

University of Pennsylvania Health System

Fellowship

University of Pennsylvania Health System

Biography

Empowering patients amid joys and challenges

Whitney Bender, M.D. brings empathy and expertise to her role caring for patients with complicated pregnancies.

Dr. Bender is an OB/GYN on our Maternal Fetal Medicine team, and spends much of her time sharing the happiest moments of her patients’ lives. But she’s also there with them through some of their most difficult times.

“As a high-risk obstetrician, I recognize that pregnancy, labor, and delivery can be a time of overwhelming challenges,” Dr. Bender says. “Whether it’s a medical problem, an unexpected fetal diagnosis, or an unanticipated pregnancy complication, there are so many patients for whom pregnancy is not what they envisioned.”

Through it all, Dr. Bender advises patients with compassion as she helps them navigate any hurdles they face. “VCU Health places patient experience at the center of their mission,” she says. “I became a physician to help care for others, and it excites me to work for institution that values this trait in their people.”

As part of her practice, she brings a commitment to research and a drive to constantly learn about how to best care for pregnant patients and their babies. Dr. Bender has co-authored articles on gestational diabetes and other topics in the field of Maternal Fetal Medicine. Within that field, she treats patients with high blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, clotting disorders, and heart disease. She also sees patients experiencing pre-term labor, twin pregnancy, fetal anomalies, and preeclampsia.

Maternal fetal medicine requires a lifelong dedication to continuing education, and thinking and acting quickly — after all, a pregnancy only lasts 40 weeks. “It is critical to stay up to date on our research to understand how to best incorporate it into patient care,” she says. “And whatever that care plan, there’s only a finite time to act, so we must do so with conviction and confidence.”

Dr. Bender also stresses the importance of learning a family and patients’ values, to create treatment plans that “align with our shared goal of a healthy pregnant patient and baby,” she says. And she knows her interaction with patients may be as brief as a 5-minute ultrasound or as long as a 9-month pregnancy. But her goal in every instance is for patients to come away feeling educated and empowered.

“There is no one-size fits all plan for complex pregnancy care,” she says. “I want to know what is important to you and prioritize your wishes.”

Outside of patient care, she enjoys spending time with her young son and her husband exploring parks, trails and restaurants.

Advice to patients: “Speaking with families about why their pregnancy may not fit the storybook version they’ve long fantasized about is a hard exchange. I have these difficult conversations almost every day. My goal in these discussions is to educate families, review the options for management and discuss my recommendations. And I want to empower you and your family to ask questions and make decisions that resonate with your beliefs and goals.”

“Every patient should leave each interaction with their care team feeling educated about the issues impacting their health and about the next steps that will be taken to treat them. All patients should feel comfortable asking questions, and they should also expect understandable answers that are tailored to their unique health needs.”

Research Interests: Maternal Fetal Medicine topics, including genetic research, glucose metabolism in pregnancy, postpartum lactation support, and randomized control trials on labor and delivery.

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