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

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.

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.

Continue reading

Violins in the O.R.? French horns in the lab? U-M Life Sciences Orchestra blends music & medicine

Free concert April 27 features U-M doctors, scientists, dentists and others

Dr. Ellen Janke, LSO

Dr. Ellen Janke checks her violin’s “vital signs”

When patients and visitors come to U-M’s medical campus, they often hear the sound of music provided by the Gifts of Art program – whether it’s a harp playing in the waiting area near the operating rooms, a guitarist visiting the room of a hospitalized child, or a jazz band playing a free lunchtime concert on a Thursday in the main lobby of University Hospital.

But on Sunday nights, some of U-M’s doctors, nurses, scientists, dentists and  students gather to make music of their own — in the Life Sciences Orchestra. For the last 14 years, the LSO has given these health and science professionals an outlet for their own musical talents — and let them meet people from across the vast U-M life science community.

This Sunday, April 27, the LSO will play a free concert for the community at U-M’s famed Hill Auditorium. Continue reading

The Positive Feedback Loop

Medical mission work and a return to U of M

Dr. Gilman and a patient in Cartagena, Colombia.

Dr. Gilman and a patient in Cartagena, Colombia.

My first medical mission trip in 1998 was one of those absolutely life altering experiences.

I had been interested in this work for some time and was approached by a friend who needed an additional surgeon for a trip to Cartagena, Colombia. Working during that first trip, I really felt as if it gave me the opportunity to practice what we do as surgeons and physicians in the purest possible way. There are no other considerations but to offer our expertise to the people we see.

I’ve continued to visit this same hospital each year for 15 years, now leading an annual mission for pediatric reconstructive plastic surgery.  I am convinced that any volunteer participating in a medical mission would describe themselves asgetting more out of the experience than they Continue reading

U-M nurse anesthetist leads medical relief trip in Kenya with U-M and Henry Ford health systems

As a nurse anesthetist at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, as well as Henry Ford Health System, Elizabeth Studley closely monitors patients each day to make sure they are safe, comfortable and relaxed. But Studley’s commitment to helping others extends beyond hospital walls.

Kenya Relief medical team from U-M Health System Henry Ford Health System

The U-M Health System and Henry Ford Health System will send a total of 23 medical staff to Kenya this week to offer much-needed medical relief to local residents.

For the last five years, she has led a team of surgeons and other health care providers from both HFHS and the UMHS to provide care to people in Kenya.

This week, she will again travel to the East African country with 23 surgeons, anesthesia providers, nurses, surgical technicians and pharmacists who will offer lifesaving medical relief in a region with scarce access to health care. The volunteers will provide care to people in local communities, many who travel for miles to see a physician for the first time in their lives. The team expects to see 450-600 patients and perform 50-80 surgeries—ranging from general surgery and dentistry to pediatrics and ear, nose and throat procedures—in just three days. Studley’s team is the largest of 21 groups who volunteer with KenyaRelief.Org.

As she prepares for the trip on Thursday, Studley answered some questions about why she’s so dedicated to this work. Continue reading