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Q: What services do certified nurse midwives provide?

Posted August 07, 2013 in Advice Column, Greene County

A: Certified nurse midwives provide care to women of all ages, not just those of childbearing age. Many gynecologic services can be performed by midwives.

Annual visits are opportunities to review the general state of a woman’s health and address any specific concerns. Midwives follow national guidelines for screening Pap smears, mammograms, colonoscopies, bone mineral density testing and blood tests such as thyroid, metabolic profile, blood count and lipid (cholesterol) testing.

Midwives provide testing and treatment of many other gynecologic conditions. Pelvic pain in non-pregnant women is usually evaluated with a pelvic examination and ultrasound. Midwives can help manage menopause through control of hot flashes, mood swings, sleep problems, loss of energy and vaginal dryness. Many women are seen for pelvic organ prolapse where the bowel, bladder and uterus settle into the vaginal vault. Women can also be evaluated for abnormal uterine bleeding — either heavy or more frequent than normal or a lack of menstrual bleeding, which is called amenorrhea.

If a Pap smear comes back abnormal, midwives can provide diagnostic testing by looking at the cervix with a colposcope and conducting biopsies of areas that look suspicious.

Evaluation of pelvic infections such as yeast infections, bacterial infections or sexually transmitted diseases can also be done by a midwife.  Midwives provide services for urinary tract infections, female urinary incontinence, breast diseases, contraception, premenstrual syndrome and infertility.

Knowing what is provided by a certified nurse midwife is important for women when considering their gynecological care needs.

Information provided by Greene County Medical Center, Jefferson, 515-386-2114.

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