Tips for Postpartum Recovery

Brianne Anderson, MD

You’ve just welcomed a beautiful baby, and are just beginning to settle into your new life as a parent. With all the planning and stress of having a newborn, we all tend to put our own needs on the backburner and focus solely on your baby! Although it is easier said than done, along with caring for your baby, your postpartum recovery is also a top priority! We often focus on the physical care, but mental care is important as well and both should be taken seriously.

Physical Care

Childbirth takes a physical toll on the body, which can cause you to feel tired or groggy. For a few weeks after delivery, many women suffer from bloody vaginal discharge, breast engorgement, tenderness at the vagina, and mainly fatigue. Vaginal discharge can turn brown within days but for a few weeks following, can be an off-white color.

Fatigue and soreness are very common in new moms, so don’t be alarmed when you want to drop everything and take a nap. to When it comes to naps, it is recommended that both parents try to nap when the baby does. This will help ensure that you both are getting enough rest.

Wearing a supportive bra, as well as using ice packs are great ways relieve breast swelling as you establish your breastfeeding routine. If you or your partner has had a “C-Section,” mom should follow doctor’s ordered for keeping the incision clean and dry to prevent any kind of infection.

Mental Care

The “Baby Blues” are described as general sadness or moodiness about 3 or 4 days after delivery. Symptoms of the “Baby Blues” include crying for (what seems like) no reason, anxiety, and even restlessness. These symptoms tend to dissipate quickly, with no necessary treatment. However, if you find that these symptoms are lasting much longer and get in the way of your daily tasks, you may have Postpartum Depression (PPD).

PPD presents with many more symptoms and requires immediate consultation with a physician. Postpartum Depression may include symptoms of sadness, confusion, low self-esteem, appetite changes, and sometimes feelings of isolation. Men can also suffer from Postpartum Depression, which can be caused by sleep deprivation. Always speak up if you or your partner have any doubts or unwanted feelings. You are not alone and your healthcare providers can help!

Remember, if you have any questions or concerns, call your doctor or mental health specialist.

Click here to Find A Doctor and schedule your next OB/GYN appointment.

Dr. Brianne Anderson specializes in OB/GYN at Crescent City Physicians, Inc., a subsidiary of Touro Infirmary. After earning her medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Dr. Anderson completed residency at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS. Dr. Anderson is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Anderson values the physician/patient relationship because she strives to understand what is important to her patients and become a confidant to guide them through varying stages of life.

 

Pregnancy and Exercise

Jamie Sias, M.D.

Research shows that regular exercise, with the approval of your healthcare provider, can often help to reduce the physical discomforts of pregnancy, reduce stress, improve energy and help with your recovery after giving birth. There is also evidence that physical activity may be beneficial for women with gestational diabetes. If you haven’t worked out before, use your pregnancy as a motivation for both you and your baby. Your body and hormones are changing, and exercise can help you cope with these changes.

What exercises are safe?

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women who exercised and were physically fit before pregnancy can safely continue exercising throughout their pregnancy. As long as you are you not overdoing your exercises, you should be good. However, if you were inactive before pregnancy or have any medical or pregnancy complications, we highly recommend you talk to your healthcare provider before starting an exercise routine.

There’s an age-old myth that exercising while pregnant can harm the baby. However, there is no evidence that this myth is true. Strenuous exercising will not harm your baby, but it will cause you to become tiresome more quickly than it did preterm. Therefore, it is recommended to perform low-impact exercises during your pregnancy.

Here’s a list of safe activities:

  • Swimming
  • Brisk walking
  • Indoor cycling
  • Stair climbing machines
  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Low-impact dancing
  • Jogging (in moderation)
  • Yoga

When exercising, it’s important to remember to warm up, stretch and cool down. Also, drink plenty of water and take breaks if needed.

Who should not exercise?

Exercise may not be safe if you have any of these conditions:

  • Preterm labor in current or past pregnancies
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Cervical problems
  • Leaking of amniotic fluid
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness and/or fainting
  • Decreased fetal activity or other complications
  • Increased heart rate (tachycardia), although heart rate is typically higher in pregnant women
  • Certain health problems, like high blood pressure or heart disease

What are exercises are not safe?

The following are some exercises to avoid while pregnant:

  • Horseback riding
  • Water skiing
  • Scuba diving
  • High altitude skiing
  • Contact sports
  • Any exercise that can cause a serious fall
  • Exercising on your back after the first trimester (because of reduced blood flow to the uterus)
  • Vigorous exercise in hot, humid weather, as pregnant women are less efficient at exchanging heat
  • Exercise involving holding your breath during exertion. This can cause an increased intra-abdominal pressure

If you start to experience any dizziness, faintness, chest pain, nausea, contractions and vaginal bleeding, stop exercising and contact your physician.

Join Touro for Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby: nutrition and wellness during pregnancy and beyond

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one of the most important things you can do for both yourself and baby during pregnancy and after delivery. Join Touro dietitian Julie Fortenberry and Yoga Instructor Kelley Howard Gill from Wild Lotus Yoga for an informative class on nutrition and wellness for expectant and new mothers

Click here to learn more or to register for an upcoming class.

Dr. Jamie Sias is an OB/GYN with Crescent City Physicians, Inc., a subsidiary of Touro Infirmary. She received her undergraduate degree from Xavier University of Louisiana and earned her medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine. Dr. Sias cares for patients at two convenient locations, Mid-City and St. Claude.

Coping with a Premature Birth

Jennifer Mills-Messina, M.D.

Caring for a premature baby can take a toll on parents physically and emotionally. Premature babies are born before their bodies and organ systems have completely matured, requiring special medical care. Parents of preemies may find themselves anxious about their baby’s health and can often times feel angry, guilty, or overwhelmed.

Having a sick baby is upsetting. Most parents don’t expect to have problems with pregnancy. They don’t expect their baby to be sick or premature. It is quite natural for parents to have many different emotions as they try to cope with the difficulties of a sick baby. But it is reassuring that today’s advanced technology is helping sick babies get better and go home sooner than ever before. Being separated from your baby when he or she is in the NICU is painful. But it helps to know that it doesn’t have to harm the relationship between you and your baby. NICUs today pay special attention to supporting this relationship.

Tips for Parents

Many preemie parents feel helpless during this process, but there are things you can do to help during this difficult time:

  • Learn about premature babies: In addition to communicating with your baby’s doctor, ask for recommendations on books, pamphlets and websites that will be reliable sources on caring for preemies and what lies ahead. Ask your physicians and the neonatal staff any and all questions or concerns you have throughout this process
  • Stay Healthy: It’s important that you take care of yourself as well as your baby. Get as much rest as possible and be sure you are eating a healthy diet that will give your body the strength and nutrients it needs.
  • Establish your milk supply: Even if your baby is unable to breast-feed right away, you can begin using a breast pump to establish your supply. Lactation nurses can assist you in beginning this process and preparing you and your body for when your baby is ready to breast-feed.
  • Allowing Helping Hands: It’s important to accept help from friends and family during this time. Allow them to cook you a meal, clean your house, or help care for your other children. This allows you to not have to worry about day to day tasks, and save your energy for your baby.
  • Record the progress: Keep a journal or log of your baby’s progress as well as your own thoughts and feelings. Include pictures and recording milestones, helps you see how much your baby changes week to week.
  • Talk to someone: Find someone you can talk to about what you are going through. Reach out to your partner, spouse, friends, family or hospital staff. The NICU staff can be very helpful and encouraging and recommend resources that would be helpful.

Caring for a premature baby is a great challenge and it’s important to remember you are not alone. Lean on your support system and talk to your doctor about what you are feeling and any concerns you have. Although this is a stressful process, try and cherish the time you spend getting to know your baby.

Dr. Jennifer Mills-Messina is an OB/GYN with Crescent City Physicians, a subsidiary of Touro Infirmary. She received her medical degree from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine and completed post graduate training at University of Alabama in Birmingham. Dr. Mills-Messina is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and treats patients at both the Uptown and Old Metairie locations.

Understanding Postpartum Depression

Tara Morse, D.O.

It is not uncommon for new moms to have the “baby blues” during the first days or weeks after delivery. The “baby blues” often happens suddenly after delivery. The “baby blues” consists of symptoms such as, feelings of disappointment, crying for no reason, irritability, impatience, anxiety and restlessness.

It is common for the “baby blues” feelings to go away soon after they start and usually without treatment. These symptoms may also be present in postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a more severe form of baby blues, and women with postpartum depression may have trouble coping with their daily tasks.

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression is much more serious and lasts longer than the “baby blues.” The following are the most common symptoms of postpartum depression. But each woman may have slightly different symptoms. Symptoms may include:

  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Hopelessness
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Poor concentration
  • Confusion
  • A fear of harming the newborn or yourself
  • Mood swings with exaggerated highs, lows, or both
  • Lower sex drive (libido)
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Low self-esteem
  • Uncontrolled crying and with no known cause
  • Over concern or over-attentiveness for the newborn, or a lack of interest in the newborn
  • Appetite changes
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Resentment
  • Memory loss
  • Feelings of isolation

What causes postpartum depression?

While the exact cause for postpartum depression is unknown, it is likely that a number of different things are involved. These may include:

  • The changing of roles (as a spouse and new parent)
  • Hormone and metabolic changes after delivery
  • Stress
  • Personal or family history of mental illness, particularly depression
  • Marital strife

How is postpartum depression diagnosed?

A typical diagnostic procedure for postpartum depression includes a complete health history, physical exam, standardized questionnaire, and/or psychiatric evaluation. In many cases, you may need laboratory screening tests to find any hormone or metabolic problems that may serve as an underlying cause.

Treatment for postpartum depression

It is important to note that most women who get the “baby blues,” postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, or postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder have never had these symptoms before, especially with such intensity. In any case, it is important to get proper treatment early and not be afraid to talk to your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing. This is not only to make sure that the newborn remains safe and properly cared for, but also so that you can experience all the joys of motherhood.

Specific treatment for postpartum depression will be determined by your healthcare provider based on:

  • Your age, overall health and health history
  • How serious your symptoms are and how long they have lasted
  • Whether you are breastfeeding
  • Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
  • Your opinion or preference

Treatment may include:

  • Psychological treatment, which may include both you and your family or partner.
  • Peer support such as support groups and educational classes
  • Stress management and relaxation training
  • Exercise
  • Assertiveness training. Some women need to learn how to set limits with family members, in order that they do not become overwhelmed and overworked.
  • Medicine such as antidepressants

If you are experiencing any symptoms of postpartum depression, please talk to your physician.

Tara Morse, D.O. is an OB/GYN with Crescent City Physicians, Inc. – a subsidiary of Touro Infirmary.  A graduate of Des Moines University of Osteopathic medicine, Dr. Morse completed her residency in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Louisiana State University School of Medicine where she served as Chief Resident. She provides Obstetrics and Gynecology services at her mid-city office located at 4000 Bienville St. 

How to Prepare for Pregnancy

Cheryl Tschirn, RN, BSN

The benefits of prenatal care are well known. Once women know they are pregnant, appointments are scheduled with their healthcare provider to ensure that both mom and baby are healthy. But it is also important to be in the best health possible before pregnancy in order to have the healthiest outcome for mother and baby. Here are a few things you should do to plan for a healthy pregnancy:

Meet with your Healthcare Provider

As part of the visit, you will discuss your health and plans for pregnancy with your provider. Your provider will review:

  • Current medications that you are taking, such as over the counter, prescription or herbal medications and determine if they are approved for pregnancy.
  • Your family history. If you have been pregnant before, your provider will review your last pregnancy (ex: history of birth defects/preterm birth/ recurrent miscarriage).
  • Your work and home environment to see if anything will affect your pregnancy.
  • If you have any chronic health concerns such as cardiovascular disease, mental health issues, asthma, diabetes, abnormal thyroid function and high blood pressure, your provider will work with you to keep those conditions in good control.
  • You will be updated on immunizations to protect against hepatitis B, rubella and varicella.

If you do not already have one, many providers are happy to schedule a “meet and greet” to discuss your plans for pregnancy and to see if you both are on the same page. As Touro’s OB Navigator, I can assist women in selecting a provider that meets their needs.

One of the many things that I like about Touro is how we work with women to become a partner in their labor and delivery experience. It is truly a privilege to be part of such an important part in a woman’s life.

Make Positive Choices

  • Begin taking prenatal vitamins. Take at least 400mcg of folic acid for prevention of neural tube defects.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol. Women smokers are twice as likely to experience a delay in conception. Once pregnant it can cause: prematurity, low birth weight and increased risk of SIDS. Women that report a moderate to heavy intake of alcohol may take longer to conceive. Also, avoid second hand smoke as it can cause the same effects.
  • Limit caffeine intake. Limit caffeine to 200mg per day (1-12 ounce cup of coffee) – it can be associated with infertility.
  • Make healthy selections in your diet, which is consistent with good nutrition. Eat a lot of grains, fruits, vegetables, protein and dairy. Avoid all raw and undercooked seafood, eggs, and meat. Also, do not eat sushi made with raw fish (cooked sushi is safe). Most importantly, avoid eating the following foods during pregnancy, such as unpasteurized milk and foods made with unpasteurized milk, hot dogs, luncheon meats and cold cuts. Only eat cold cuts if they are heated until steaming hot just before serving.

Food such as beef, pork, or poultry should be cooked to a safe internal temperature. Lastly, remember to refrigerate pate and meat spreads, smoked seafood, raw and undercooked seafood, eggs and meat.

  • Practice food hygiene. Remember to wash produce thoroughly under running tap water before eating, cutting or cooking. Wash your hands, knives, countertops and cutting boards after handling and preparing uncooked foods as well as keeping your kitchen clean.
  • Move your body. Regular moderate exercise is good for you and your pregnancy. Limit vigorous exercise to avoid an increase in core body temperature above 100.4. Remember to stay hydrated and wear loose comfortable clothing. Exercise improves your wellbeing, assist with weight management and helps prepare the body for pregnancy, labor / delivery and postpartum.
  • Practice dental care. Brush twice daily, use fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque, floss and have regular dental checkups.
  • Develop a financial plan. Research what your health insurance covers and your company’s policy for maternity leave. Also, look at your budget for adding a new family member.

Remember this is a special time. Our hope is that you will enjoy looking forward to the future and a new baby.

Planning for a Healthy Pregnancy

Pregnancy test with positive result and clothing for newborn, bodysuits, concept of extending family and expecting for baby, copy space for text or inscription

Thinking about becoming pregnant?

Join Touro for an interactive discussion including an OB/GYN and community dietitian to learn how you can enter pregnancy in optimal health.

This class is free of charge. Registration is required.

>> Click here to register or call 504-897-7319.

Complimentary parking will be available for all classes in Touro’s parking garage on Delachaise Street across from the Emergency Department.

Saturday, April 1
10:00 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Touro Infirmary
1401 Foucher St.
New Orleans, LA 70115
Presidents Room, 2nd Floor

Cheryl A. Tschirn, RN, BSN is the OB Navigator for the Family Birthing Center at Touro Infirmary. Since the age of five, Cheryl knew she wanted a career in nursing. She graduated with a BSN from LSU’s School of Nursing in 1981. Cheryl began working in cardiology and pre and post surgical care. She found her calling in 1985 when she began working in Ambulatory OB/GYN nursing. For 28 years, Cheryl has worked in the field as a staff nurse, manager and director. She has served in her current role as Community Educators since 2013 and states that her job is “an absolute joy”. Cheryl enjoys working closely with families and helping preparing them to welcome a growing family.

 

Vaginal Birth after a C-Section: Can it work for you?

Louis Paul du Treil, M.D.

If you have delivered a baby via cesarean section, you may think you can’t try a vaginal birth for your next child. However, about nine in 10 women who had C-sections are candidates for VBAC, or vaginal birth after cesarean.

What’s more, three-fourths of women who try VBAC succeed. Your odds of joining them improve if:

Your hospital is ready

Not every birthing center offers VBAC, but Touro Infirmary does. Your Touro medical team will monitor you closely and be ready to treat complications and perform another C-section if needed.

You have no other health problems

Some complications or conditions could make VBAC more dangerous, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease and placenta previa, when the placenta covers part of the cervix.

Your incision was positioned properly

Most C-sections are done with what doctors call a low transverse incision, or bikini cut. This means your surgeon made the cut horizontally and low on the uterus.

Your baby’s in the right place

Babies in the head-down position have an easier time passing through the vaginal canal. If your baby is breech or transverse, meaning he or she is lying sideways, you might need another C-section.

The reasons you had a C-section the first time aren’t a factor

Some C-sections are needed for specific reasons specific to that pregnancy — breech births, multiples and babies with certain birth defects or problems during labor. If those issues don’t affect this pregnancy, VBAC may be a safe choice.

VBAC can speed recovery, reduce the risk for infection and increase odds of having more children in the future. But it is not right for everyone. Talk with your doctor to make the best decision for you.
For more tips on pregnancy and early parenting, view Touro’s Childbirth Education Calendar at www.touro.com/fbc.

Dutreil, LouisLouis Paul du Treil, M.D. is Director of Maternal and Child Health at Touro Infirmary and a practicing OB/GYN with Crescent City Physicians, Inc. He earned his B.S. from Loyola University and attended the Louisiana State University School of Medicine. Dr. du Treil completed his OB/GYN internship and residency at the University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

>> Click here for details on Dr. du Treil’s practice.

Enhancing Your Fertility

12 Factors that Affect a Woman’s Fertility

Tisha Seghers, APRN-CNM

For some women achieving pregnancy is easy, but for others trying to conceive can be work.  There are a number of ways to enhance your fertility when trying to conceive.  It is important to be your healthiest self.  Let’s highlight some of the important topics:

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Being Overweight or Underweight:

Overweight and obese women as well as women who are underweight can have difficulty becoming pregnant.  Women who are overweight may have decreased ovarian function leading to difficulty in achieving pregnancy.  Women who are underweight may ovulate irregularly or not at all.  Being in a normal weight category can enhance your fertility. This is why it’s important to check your body mass index.

Aging: 

As you age, the amount of viable eggs in the ovaries begins to decline.  Also, with age, women may not ovulate regularly.  It is thought that fertility may begin to decline around age 35.  Also, it may be helpful to ask your mother when she went through menopause.  The average age for menopause is age 51. If your mother went through menopause at a younger age, then you may also go through menopause earlier in life.

Environment:

Chemicals and pollutants can decrease fertility.  Limiting inhalation and physical contact to these toxins can increase your chances of conceiving.  It’s important to work in well ventilated areas, to wear gloves, and use protective eyewear when handling chemicals.

Excess alcohol and caffeine intake:

Women who drink more than one alcoholic beverage daily may find it harder to become pregnant.  Fertility declines proportionally to the amount of alcohol ingested.  There is conflicting information in the evidence regarding caffeine intake and fertility.  There is some evidence that shows that excess caffeine intake may decrease fertility.  If you are having difficulty conceiving, limit your caffeine intake to 200 mg or less daily.

Smoking:

Smoking prematurely ages the ovaries and depletes the quantity of eggs prematurely.  Bottom line:  Quit!  Touro offers a regular smoking cessation program: I Can Quit. The program is open to anyone who is serious about quitting smoking. To learn more or to register for the next monthly session, contact Robert Gardner, Ph.D., LPC at (504) 897-8209 or robert.gardner@ lcmchealth.org

Breastfeeding:

Breast milk is certainly the best for your baby, and it’s recommended that babies are breastfed for the first six months of life, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.  It’s also recommended that once food is introduced that babies continue to breastfeed until at least age one and for as long as mutually desired by mom and baby.  During the first six months of life, it’s possible that the breastfeeding mom may experience lactation amenorrhea.  This means that she may not ovulate during that time of breastfeeding exclusivity.  Side note:  It is also recommended to wait at least 18 months before conceiving again to decrease your chances of experiencing preterm labor and birth with your next bundle of joy. 

Vigorous physical activity:

Moderate exercise is a great way to stay healthy but there is a possibility of working out too much. If you notice your menstrual cycle has become irregular or has lightened significantly and you participate in very vigorous exercising (generally more than five hours per week,) you may have decreased fertility.

“The birth control shot”:

The birth control shot (medroxyprogesterone acetate; brand name Depo-Provera) is the only method of hormonal birth control that may not have an immediate return to fertility once the method is no longer in use.  Some women do return to fertility immediately, while others may not resume regular ovulatory cycles for up to one year or more.

Medical conditions:

As said earlier, it is important to be your healthiest self when trying to conceive.  There are many health conditions that can have a negative impact on fertility.  Women with thyroid disorders (hypo or hyper) can have problems ovulating.  Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, and uterine fibroids can also have negative impact on fertility and the ability to carry a pregnancy to term.  Autoimmune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can decrease your chances of conception and achieving a successful pregnancy since the woman’s own body may attack the conceptus or even her partner’s sperm.  Proper management of these health conditions can help increase your chances of conceiving and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

Your sexual health:

Sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and trichomonas, especially when left untreated, can damage the reproductive organs resulting in the inability to conceive.

Excess stress:

Stress alone is not an independent risk factor for infertility.  But, excess stress and poor coping mechanisms may decrease a woman’s ability to achieve pregnancy.

Know your body: 

Being familiar with these signs of fertility can help you when trying to conceive.  Women are most fertile when their cervical mucus is the consistency of egg whites, which is slippery and wet.  For some women this occurs on day 14 of their menstrual cycle, but as we know, many women don’t always have an exact 28 day cycle.  So, your fertile day may be before or after cycle day 14.  It can be very helpful to download an app to track your menstrual cycles.  The apps can help you identify your fertile period.  One to try is the Ovia Fertility – Ovulation Calculator and Period Tracker (Menstrual Calendar App) by Ovuline, Inc.

It can be helpful to chart your basal body temperature (BBT).  Charting BBT can help you identify when you ovulate.  If you prefer pen and paper instead of an app, you can use a blank chart with instructions. You can also purchase an Ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) from your neighborhood pharmacy.  OPKs can help you identify when you ovulate and when to best time intimacy.

There is much to learn about your body and the menstrual cycle in its entirety and there is more to know than just your period.  An excellent book that I suggest you to read is Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, MPH.

Seghers, TishaTisha Seghers, APRN-CNM, is a Certified Nurse Midwife at Touro Infirmary. Tisha worked as a Labor and Delivery nurse for 14 years before attending graduate school to study nurse midwifery. She graduated from Frontier Nursing University (Hyden, Kentucky) in September, 2014 with a Master of Science degree in nursing. Tisha is a New Orleans native, married to her high-school sweetheart and mother of two young children.

Folic acid: from Preconception to Pregnancy

What is Folic Acid?

Arelis Figueroa, M.D.

Folic acid, folate, or vitamin B9, is a water-soluble vitamin. It plays an important part in cell division, in the creation of cells in the blood-forming organs and bone marrow, and in the proper development of the fetal spinal cord during pregnancy. Like the other B vitamins, folic acid plays an important role in energy production.

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How is a Midwife Different than a Doula?

What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife?

Tisha Seghers, APRN-CNM

A Certified Nurse-Midwife, (CNM) is a professional health care provider with a degree as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).  CNMs are experts in both nursing and midwifery.

In addition, nurse-midwives must pass a national certification examination and meet strict requirements set by state health agencies and may not practice Midwifery in that state without a license.

Nurse Having a Meeting with a pregnant Woman

What services do Certified Nurse-Midwife’s provide?

Nurse-Midwives provide:

  • comprehensive gynecology for adolescents and adults
  • family planning and contraception
  • preconception counseling
  • peri/postmenopausal care
  • prenatal, birth and postpartum care

They also provide routine gynecological care, which includes family planning services, yearly health maintenance examinations, care of the woman during menopause and the treatment of minor gynecologic disorders such as vaginitis. Midwives can also write prescriptions.

Midwives are probably best known for how they help women during labor and birth, but they apply their philosophy of care in all settings and with women across their lifespan.

video-seghers

Click here to see Touro Certified Nurse Midwife, Tisha Seghers, discuss the difference and similarities between midwives and doulas.

How is a midwife different from a doula?

Midwives and doulas seem similar, since they’re both people — who aren’t OBs — who help women through labor. And they are both most commonly chosen by moms-to-be who go drug-free during their delivery. But their roles in the childbirth process are actually quite different.

A midwife is a health care provider and a doula a childbirth coach. You might choose to have a midwife instead of an OB for prenatal care and to deliver your baby.

A doula, on the other hand, doesn’t replace your healthcare practitioner, but rather can add extra services.  A doula is professionally trained and experienced in giving social support to birthing families during pregnancy, labor, and birth and at home during the first few days or weeks after birth.

How is a midwife different from an OB?

Both midwives and obstetricians are trained to deliver babies, but they have different approaches when it comes to birth.

Midwives usually work with low risk pregnancies. Special emphasis is placed on the emotional well-being of the mother during pregnancy and midwives are less likely to use medical interventions.

Obstetricians are doctors. In addition to vaginal delivery, they can also perform C-sections and special procedures, as needed.  Midwives consult with obstetricians when high risk situations arise.

Is a nurse-midwife right for me?

Nurse-midwifery provides complementary care to more traditional medical options and an alternative to the routine OB experience. The cost of this type of birth is similar to a traditional birth, and it is covered by most insurance plans. We also have self-pay options for those without health insurance.

At Touro our focus is on giving you the tools and education you need to help your body do what comes naturally. If you seek an empowering and uniquely personal childbirth experience, nurse-midwifery may be for you.

Midwives provide a personal touch, spending additional time with patients both during prenatal care and labor and delivery.

For additional information or questions, please call (504) 897-7880 or visit www.touro.com/midwife

Seghers, TishaTisha Seghers, APRN-CNM, is a Certified Nursre Midwife at Touro Infirmary. Tisha worked as a Labor and Delivery nurse for 14 years before attending graduate school to study nurse midwifery. She graduated from Frontier Nursing University (Hyden, Kentucky) in September, 2014 with a Master of Science degree in nursing. Tisha is a New Orleans native, married to her high-school sweetheart and mother.

The Role of a Midwife

Tisha Seghers, APRN-CNM

What is a Midwife?

Midwives are trained professionals for mothers and infants with special skills in supporting women to maintain a positive pregnancy and healthy birth experience including postpartum support. They are there to offer expert personalized care, counseling and education for each expecting family. A midwife can help identify any unique social, physical, spiritual, cultural or emotional needs a woman may have and provide them with a safe and individualized childbirth plan such as natural, water ormedicated/epidural.

Doctor and pregnant woman in doctor's office

Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)

A CNM is an independent health care provider that is educated, trained and licensed in nursing and midwifery. They meet the certification requirements of the American College of Nurse-Midwives and primarily attend births in hospitals and birth centers.

What if outside care is required?

Midwives work collaboratively with physicians, nurses, doulas and other members of a woman’s health care team. Should a woman ever need care that is required outside of the midwife’s scale of practice, a referral is provided to address any additional care. Essentially, a midwife can work hand in hand with other providers to ensure the most positive, safe and comfortable birth experience.

Midwives care for women across the lifespan:

Additional woman-centered services include:

  • Comprehensive gynecology for adolescents and adults
  • Family planning and contraception
  • Peri/postmenopausal care
  • Preconception counseling
  • Prenatal, birth and postpartum care
  • Sexually transmitted infection testing and counseling

Looking for a Midwife at Touro?

If you would like to work with a midwife for your care and delivery, Touro is here to support your choice. We work closely with our physicians to make your birth experience as safe and comforting as possible. Whether becoming a mother for the first time or expanding your growing family, we will collaborate with our trusted OB/GYNs to give moms more birthing choices.
To learn more or make an appointment, call (504) 897-7880.

Seghers, TishaTisha Seghers, APRN-CNM, is a Certified Nursre Midwife at Touro Infirmary. Tisha worked as a Labor and Delivery nurse for 14 years before attending graduate school to study nurse midwifery. She graduated from Frontier Nursing University (Hyden, Kentucky) in September, 2014 with a Master of Science degree in nursing. Tisha is a New Orleans native, married to her high-school sweetheart and mother of two young children.