****UPDATE**** 6/9/17- Lee-Ann Parker is currently still seeing patients at Generations of Women, but will be moving her practice to Richmond to join forces with two other midwives to provide midwifery services at St. Mary's Hospital. Please feel free to continue reading- we are glad she will still be in our service area, and think everyone should know about her.
No doubt about it, having babies is an incredibly poignant and formative time in a woman's life. There are so many changes and so much information,
it makes sense that we might want someone whose job title is literally "with woman" to help guide us through.
But Lee-Ann Parker, Certified Nurse Midwife and MSN, believes that there are a LOT of formative times in a woman's life other than her childbearing years, and her health needs are changing all the way from puberty past menopause.
Why should midwives solely focus on women having babies, when women are only having babies for 5-10 years? What about the other 75 years? Why don't we turn to our midwives for the rest of our women's health too?
The Virginia Baby Co.: What do you love about working at Generations of Women in Fredericksburg?
Lee-Ann Parker: I love that we are 100% all female providers, and we are one of the few OB/GYN practices in town to provide our own coverage. Much like your agency, we can guarantee you have had the opportunity to meet the person who will be attending your birth. I love that we can provide 90% of the typical pregnancy and well-women care options in-house. We make it easy to get bloodwork, get a sonogram done and read, we even have a cardiologist who comes in if you need to see a specialist for heart health.
The Virginia Baby Co.: A Cardiologist? Why a Cardiologist?
Lee-Ann Parker: We are dedicated to helping women identify cancer risk and cancer is the number one killer of women. We have a passion for women's health, and naturally if we are focusing on cancer, we would want to focus on the number one leading cause of death in women-- Heart disease!
Heart health is as much of a women's health issue as breast or ovarian cancer.
By bringing a Cardiologist to our office, we open up the opportunity to follow up and focus treatment on getting and staying healthy.
The Virginia Baby Co.: So what can you do about heart health, as a midwife?
LeeAnn Parker: Did you know that more women see a gynecologist than a primary care provider? As a midwife I certainly focus on pregnancy care and helping women deliver babies in the way they feel comfortable, but my care is not limited to that short period in a woman's life.
The Virginia Baby Co.: Because Midwife means "with women", not just "with women who are having babies?"
Lee-Ann Parker: Absolutely. The impact that one healthy woman can have on the community is tremendous. If we help her get information, she will make the changes in her family, influencing her kids. Imagine if she then shares her knowledge with her sisters, mothers, friends, helping them become empowered.
Pretty soon, we've made a big difference in the health of the community, just by doing a few tests and creating a customized plan for her. We are literally helping GENERATIONS OF WOMEN by paying attention to family history and preventative care.
The Virginia Baby Co.: Oh, "family history"... you mean all of that paperwork before your appointment?
Lee-Ann Parker: We know lots of paperwork can be frustrating. But they are all important questions to get a good idea of your family's health history so we can help you formulate a plan to get the answers you want. We are switching over in March though, to a more streamlined, electronic system that should take less time for a more complete picture.
The Virginia Baby Co.: Once you and your patient figure out what well-women tests to run, what happens then?
Lee-Ann Parker: We can do the blood draw in the office right there (that day even, if she has fasted before her appointment), and then we will call her when the results come in. If there is anything that requires a plan, we will sit down together, and help formulate what the next steps need to be. If you need it, I will even help you find an eating plan that meets your needs, and we will refer you out to doctors if there is something bigger that needs to be pursued.
The Virginia Baby Co.: What can women do to help prevent health issues that might appear on your screenings?
Lee-Ann Parker: All women can start by making an appointment for their yearly physical. Come to see me, go to you primary care doctor, but just get your bloodwork checked. We don't prioritize our own health as women, and we need to, in order to head off issues early, so we can literally help you have a longer, more vibrant life.
The Virginia Baby Co.: Ok, so I've got my appointment for my yearly physical. What are you going to tell me?
Lee-Ann Parker: You want to be exercising 3-5 days a week, alternating cardio (to train your heart) with weight bearing exercise (weight lifting of course, but it could be as simple as going for a walk with your dog or chasing a ball around with your toddler).
And we want to be increasing our good cholesterol
using good fats, low carbs, cut out the white foods, increase your protein. It's not magic, but it can be hard. That's what we are here for: to help you find the best plan for you and help you stick to it to manage your health.
If you would like to talk more with Lee-Ann or to make an appointment with any of the providers at Generations of Women for your pregnancy or well-woman care, please visit their website for more information.
If you would like to join The Virginia Baby Company on the first Friday in February for the American Heart Association's Wear Red Day for #hearthealth, please join us on our Facebook page for photos, suggestions on keeping healthy, and commitments you can make to better your own healthy and beautiful life!