All that we know (or think we know) as "normal" comes from our environments, our lived experiences and exposures, and let's face it, our media feeds. While midwifery has been mainstream in my mind for decades, it's still not mainstream for the majority and I've had a good reminder of that since launching the Rise Midwifery and Wellness website. I've had a lot of, "too bad I'm all done having babies" responses, and while I'd love to be your midwife for that, the truth is I can be your midwife for so many other things too. Here are a few (but not an exhaustive list of) examples:
Time for your annual exam? There's a midwife for that. Certified nurse midwives (CNMs) provide primary health care services for women from adolescence to beyond menopause. We offer cervical cancer and HPV (the virus responsible for cervical cancer) screenings (Pap tests) at recommended intervals and order lab tests and screenings based on recommendations and individual symptoms. Annual exams do not have to include a pelvic exam. "No search without probable cause" is my motto.
Think you might want to start or switch birth control methods? There's a midwife for that. CNMs have full prescriptive authority in Ohio as a part of their licensure and can help you decide what methods might be best for you based on your health history, preferences, and other factors. Natural family planning and the fertility awareness method are a specialty of many midwives because we tend to get nerdy about things like hormonal health and cycles.
Having pain when you pee or other symptoms of a possible urinary tract infection? There's a midwife for that. I can do a urinalysis, call in a prescription and send a urine culture to the lab to make sure you're being treated appropriately. We can also talk about strategies for preventing future infections.
Vaginal or vulvar itching, burning, or unusual discharge? There's a midwife for that. You can do a self-swab at your visit (or I can do it for you, if that's your preference) and I will take a look at it under a microscope (I'll encourage you to look too!) to help determine the cause of your symptoms. We will talk about options for treatment and I can call in a prescription if that's appropriate and what you want or we can talk about natural methods to clear things up. I can also test for and treat sexually transmitted infections if that's what's suspected. Again, prevention will always be a part of our discussion.
Period problems or tricky peri-menopause or menopause symptoms? There's a midwife for that. CNMs deal with menstrual irregularities and menopause symptoms on the regular! We will discuss possible causes and explore options for addressing issues including natural and prescription hormonal options.
International Day of the Midwife is coming up on May 5th and is a great opportunity to shout the benefits of midwifery care for women in all stages from the rooftops! This year's theme highlights the vital role that midwives play not only in ensuring women and their newborns navigate pregnancy and childbirth safely, but also receive excellent, relationship-based healthcare both before and beyond the childbirth continuum, creating a lifetime of good health and well being. There's a midwife for that, and that's something to celebrate!