5 things that may surprise you about Certified Nurse-Midwives

vvwh blog - midwife photoI’ve been a midwife for 10 years, and I love my job everyday – even when it’s exhausting and difficult. It’s an amazing experience to work together with women and their families through the transformative experience of welcoming a new family member and stepping into motherhood.

Midwives have been providing health care to women for centuries, but a lot has changed since the early days of midwifery. Today, certified nurse midwives are an important part of the healthcare delivery system, with rigorous certification standards. In fact, in 2012, midwives delivered 11.8% of all vaginal births in the U.S., and that number is on the rise!

Still, many misperceptions about midwifery exist. In honor of National Midwifery Week, which runs from Oct. 5 to 11, here are five things you may not know about certified nurse-midwives.  Continue reading

Ethiopian-born doctor, mother of 4, leads mission to save women’s lives in developing world

"Whether you live or die or whether you have good care or not shouldn't depend on what part of the world you’re from."

Dr. Fisseha in Ethiopia

Michigan Photography: U-M’s Dr. Senait Fisseha in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

She is known for helping women on their journey to motherhood at the University of Michigan Center for Reproductive Medicine, but Dr. Senait Fisseha has been plagued by the plight of women in other parts of the world – the ones with the least access to quality care.

The reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist and mother of four knows all too well about the health challenges of the developing world. Born in Ethiopia – which has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world – Fisseha has long dreamt of being able to use her medical expertise to give back to the global community.

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Immunizing mom (and baby): Vaccines while pregnant

Maternal immunicationsPregnant women want to do everything they can to help their baby be healthy. One of the best things you can do is get your recommended vaccines while pregnant. Vaccinations help protect pregnant women from illnesses like the flu and they help support the immune system of their unborn children.

Protect Mom

Pregnancy changes your immune system. It makes you more likely to get some illnesses and more likely to have severe symptoms. Having the flu during pregnancy can cause problems for your pregnancy, including affecting the growth of the baby, causing fetal distress, leading to an early delivery, and increasing the chance of a cesarean section. Anyone who is pregnant during flu season should get a flu shot as soon as they are available. Because we do not recommend live vaccines in pregnant women, we only use the flu shot, not the nasal flu mist.

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Fredda Clisham retires at 95, says she’s ready to see what else is out there

Fredda Clisham is an active 95-year-old who will retire in October from the University of Michigan Health System. She joined the team in 1970 as a temporary staff member in several areas. In the mid-eighties, Fredda began working part-time with Child Life and Volunteer Services.

Fredda Clisham

“Most of my time was spent sending acknowledgements to people who had made donations, books, games and toys for patients,” she says.

In 2002, the job she’d had for more than 15 years became a full-time position. Not interested in working full time, the mother-of-five, grandmother-of-three and great-grandmother-of-two transferred to the Women’s Health Resource Center. She’s worked there every Monday, Wednesday and Friday ever since. Continue reading

Pelvic organ prolapse: How a pessary changed my life

Pessaries and pelvic organ prolapseI’ve heard pelvic organ prolapse described as a silent epidemic.  Why so hush hush for a condition that affects possibly 50% of women over 50?   I had heard of a prolapsed uterus.  But, my very large, uncomfortable, growing, fleshy protrusion in the fall of 2010 was my bladder.  Why me?  I am thin, fit and active.  A gynecologist and urologist performed the corrective surgery in 2011. Since the gynecologist believed that the uterus contributed to pushing the bladder out of place, I opted for a hysterectomy in addition to having mesh sewn into the vaginal wall to keep the bladder in place. Although I had more than 400 stitches, recovery was painless and quick.  All was well for 18 months.

In August 2012, I returned to the urologist due to spot bleeding and feeling the rough edges of the mesh protruding into the vagina and out.  He dismissed my concerns by saying that, as we age, we have weak areas of our body.  What?  I was angry, incredulous and confused.

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Are you getting enough calcium?

Information about women and calciumWhen we’re young, we’re often told to drink our milk. That’s good advice for adults as well. Whether it’s drinking milk or getting calcium from other food sources, it’s important for adult women to get 1,000 mg of calcium daily. That number jumps to 1,300 mg daily for women over the age of 71, possibly due to lower estrogen levels or because poorer utilization makes it harder for their bodies to store and use calcium.

You can get the amount of calcium you need daily by drinking three glasses of milk (8 ounces each), or the equivalent of soymilk fortified with calcium, or eating 3 ounces of cheese or about 1 1/2 cups of tofu. There are other foods that contain calcium, but these are the three most common sources. For example, kale contains calcium, but you’d have to eat about 15 servings to get enough calcium.

Look at your daily diet and if you’re not getting enough calcium through your food choices, add a calcium supplement. You may only need to supplement 60 to 100 mg of calcium daily.
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