A midwife is central to our childbearing experience; supporting and treating us through conception, pregnancy and childbirth. And while this stage of a woman’s life can certainly be one of the most significant, the need for a midwife does not begin and end with our childbearing years.

Highly trained to care for the health of the whole woman, a midwife provides women’s healthcare services from the onset of puberty to the journey through menopause and beyond. Patients are given access to contraception, health screenings, information, education and guidance.

Your annual wellness exam

For a midwife, a woman’s annual wellness exam is more than a pap smear and a breast exam. The annual wellness exam is a comprehensive visit, a time for you to ask questions and for you and your midwife to evaluate your health and well-being. It’s very easy to focus on our day-to-day lives … caring for our families, our parents, our careers and not take the time to evaluate how well we are caring for ourselves.

“For a lot of women, their annual wellness exam is the only visit they have. That is why it’s so important to make the time count,” says Greta Gill, Certified Nurse Midwife and Director of Midwifery at the El Rio Health. “Getting a clear picture of a woman’s health – bone density, heart health, lifestyle risk-factors – is so important for prevention and treatment.”

Evaluating risk factors, lifestyle choices that we can control and providing strategies for managing challenges are the benefits of an annual wellness exam with your midwife beyond pregnancy.

An ounce of prevention …

We know all about prevention and how important regular preventative healthcare is – annual well-woman exams, regular dental check-ups and teeth cleanings, the joy of a mammogram – all important for reducing our risk of disease. A midwife performs the basic annual exams, but then digs deeper.

“The reality is that women are more likely to have heart disease or other obesity-related diseases than they are to be diagnosed with cancer. That’s why the annual exam has to be comprehensive,” explained Gill.

Lifestyle diseases – a term used to describe preventable diseases associated with the way we live – are a bigger threat to our health than genetic predisposition. “Research shows us that women respond differently to certain diseases, heart attacks, and even experience pain differently. By taking the time to get a full health history and listen to our patients, we are able to make recommendations that have a positive effect on their health.”

A legacy of care

Operating with an emphasis on prevention, education and wellness, a midwife is your healthcare partner. The El Rio Health model is described as “holistic; attending to every woman’s physical and emotional needs. The hallmark of midwifery is the time we take to listen, discuss choices, and answer questions.”

With an impressive number of patients from multiple generations of families, the El Rio model is working to ensure healthy daughters, mothers and grandmothers in our community stay that way.

For more information on El Rio Community Health Center and midwifery, please visit their website  or Tucson Birth Center website.


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