Menopause Basics

Menopause Basics Menopause is defined as a year without a period. Perimenopause is the transition years leading up to that final period. Some women experience no changes in their cycles, but cycle irregularity is common and can be problematic.  Periods that arrive less that 21 days from prior period need to be discussed, as does abnormally heavy flow. Most women experience menopause between their mid-forties up to 58 or so. The average age of menopause is 51. The timing of menopause can be influenced by smoking, genetics, health, or surgical removal of the ovaries. The ovaries no longer produce estrogen. Symptoms are due to the lack of estrogen. Some women have no symptoms of menopause other than the absence of a menses. Most women experience a handful of common symptoms. The most common and problematic is hot flushes, night sweats which interfere with sleep. Quality of life is reduced when sleep is disturbed. Thinning of the vaginal tissue can affect intimacy by causing painful intercourse.  Sexual desire may disappear. Weight gain particularly in the midsection is common. These changes are natural and normal. Many times, the symptoms may last from a few months to many years. There is a plethora of options available to us to manage menopausal symptoms. Estrogen replacement is the most effective. But not every woman is a candidate for HRT nor may she desire to take medication for many reasons. A personal history of breast cancer or high breast cancer risk, smoking, cardiovascular [...]

2020-06-24T12:15:23-06:00June 24th, 2020|Education, Midwives|

Birth of a Midwife

Birth of a Midwife As a nurse, I was brand new to labor and delivery--and I was on my third night shift in a row. Walking back from a quick break, I was called over by the charge nurse. "You have the next admit from triage," she told me. "She's a live one--and so is her family. They're carnies." "What's that?" I asked, bewildered. "You know, the people who do the circus and carnival circuit--gypsies," she said, innocently using a term that is now considered derogatory, but was then often applied to the nomadic ethnic group known as Roma. "She's going natural." I felt a quiver of anxiety. When it came to giving labor support, I'd created a high bar for myself. I hadn't yet gone through childbirth myself, but for my patients' sake, I assumed that I needed to exude a certain confidence. The real test came when a woman in the throes of a contraction would ask, "Well…do you have any kids yourself?" This challenge felt as great to me as any clinical ordeal I'd ever faced. Okay, I can do this, I told myself, taking a deep breath. This was a busy Saturday night. It was a State Fair weekend, late summer of '89, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Plenty of pregnant women were arriving in triage, dehydrated from their day in the sun. The night had been a string of false labors. The protocol was simple: Hydrate, rest and reassess, then out the door. [...]

2020-01-10T15:19:19-07:00January 10th, 2020|Education, Midwives, Motherhood|

Ask the Midwife – The Natural Hormones of Labor

Q: I have been wondering about what starts a woman’s labor, and why is it so different from one woman to another? There are several things responsible for starting labor. For one thing, there is the baby’s readiness to be born. The baby communicates this to the mother’s system […]

2019-09-20T12:46:47-06:00May 15th, 2015|Midwives|