Health commissioner Wen talks about her pregnancy

Dr. Leana Wen, 33, Baltimore City health commissioner
Dr. Leana Wen, 33, Baltimore City health commissioner(Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen thought she was doing a good job keeping her secret.

But when she recently revealed to her staff that she was expecting a baby in August, one colleague responded: "I figured that out when I saw you turn three different colors in 20 minutes."


Yes, it's true. Even the city's top health official suffers from morning sickness and fatigue.

Wen and her husband, who manages an information technology team at Legg Mason, are expecting their first child, a boy, this summer.

The energetic commissioner known for her nonstop work ethic said she'll take off at least eight weeks to spend time with her son after he is born.

As a Republican-led Congress moves to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which aimed to make health insurance available for all American citizens, Wen said she is reminded how fortunate she is to have good benefits.

She's been able to work a flexible schedule to make doctors' appointments. She didn't worry about what her boss would say when she learned she was pregnant. And Wen is also grateful she can afford an ultrasound or another of the multiple tests available to pregnant women.

"I don't have to think about what else I would have to give up in order to pay for a particular test," she said.

For those who think being a physician somehow makes pregnancy easier, that's not necessarily the case, Wen said. Even she uses Google to search out what she should be eating.

"I do think that knowing a lot does also increase my anxiety because I know all the things that could go wrong," she said.


And she said there's a lot she has to learn about parenting.

"Feel free to give me advice on parenting and pregnancy," she said. "And names. We don't have names."

At the end of the day, like every mom, she just wants a happy and healthy baby.

"I will do anything I can to make that happen," she said.