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Category: General

March 23, 2016
Susan Griggs, APRN, CNM photo

Susan Griggs, APRN, CNM

As Cherokee Women’s First Nurse Midwife, a Pioneer at Northside Hospital Cherokee

When Certified Nurse Midwife Susan Griggs joined the practice nine years ago, she was the lone midwife in the practice, as well as the only midwife delivering at Northside Hospital Cherokee, period.

What was it like being the only midwife delivering babies at Northside Hospital Cherokee?
Being first brought positives and – challenges! The Labor and Delivery nurses were very supportive; many had worked with midwives at other hospitals. But I had to educate about my skill set and which patients I can care for, 37-40 weeks – pre-term patients are cared for by MD’s.

And being first also meant pushing through some red tape! A typical hurdle I had to jump as the first midwife at Cherokee Women’s Health was getting prescriptive authority. This is something available for Advanced Practice Nurses – the ability to write for patient medications. I enlisted the help of the other Advanced Practice Nurses in the office, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners; the State Board of Medicine approved the application. So now any nurse-midwife or nurse practitioner in the practice can write prescriptions for routine meds – this is very helpful for our patients and makes things in the office run smoother every day!

On the positive side, being the first midwife delivering at Northside Cherokee – One thing I’m proud of is that I’ve inspired several nurses to go back to school to get advanced degrees in nursing. Advance Practice Nurses approach patient care from a unique perspective – and that opportunity to set an example has meant a lot to me.

You’ve been a Clinical Preceptor for nursing students pursuing their Master’s at more than one university – including Emory, Frontier Nursing University, University of Alabama and Kennesaw State University. How have you ended up training students in so many programs?
A lot of people don’t realize that Emory University has the only Masters degree training for nurse-midwifery in the state. Also, there’s a shortage of clinical rotations available for students in general, so I try to do my part. For example, this month I got a call from the program at Georgetown University, asking if we could please place a student. I’m eager to have them starting in the fall.

Every program is a little different. A midwifery student at Emory, for example, needs to complete 40 deliveries by the time she or he graduates. Midwifery students attend births here and at other clinical sites, so sometimes by the time they arrive, they already know a good bit. But depending on the program, another student might need a lot of one-on-one mentoring. Students in Family Nurse Practitioner Programs need to learn about OB along with their clinical rotations in pediatrics and adult medicine.

Students learn three basic actions in their clinical rotation with me: 1. How to do an OB exam. They learn the protocols for OB management. 2. How to complete charting. They gain experience using electronic medical records. 3. Finally, they have an opportunity to use their teaching skills with the patients.

Some of the teaching I share with the students is just common sense advice you might not expect. For example: Even if your hands are squeaky clean, go ahead and wash your hands in front of the patient. It’s reassuring to them.
With nursing students, they’ve already had nursing experience, so they have a good sense of the patient clinical experience, unlike a young medical student.

What kind of perspective do you have on patient care? Concerns?
I’ve been taking care of new OB’s for 30 years. At every age there is a different set of concerns.

With an 18 year old, we look at things like nutrition. They need education. A mother of 2-3 children will be more concerned about weight gain. And an older patient will have genetic concerns – there will be testing we’ll need to offer them.

But I always start with the patient. There’s no set formula. If you listen to the mother, you’ll know what they need.

First off, I try to address their concerns. Some may have come from a practice where they had a negative birth experience. Typical things I might hear are:
“My epidural wore off and I felt everything.”
“The doctor cut an episiotomy and I didn’t want that.”
“I wanted to be active in labor but I was restricted to the bed.”

susan-griggs with patients and babies

Many times we can do something about those concerns the second time around!
If they have had a previous Cesarean delivery, they may be able to have a trial of labor and possible vaginal delivery. When the physician reviews the operative record, they can determine whether a ”trial of labor” is possible [natural childbirth].

What is the most important thing you want to give the patients?
The thing I think about is giving each mother the best Birth Story she can have. Every birth is special!

Just last night I had a wonderful experience. [This interview occurred on March 18.] I was on call and asleep in the call room when I got called to Labor and Delivery for a WONDERFUL birth – As a matter of fact, it was a St. Paddy’s Day baby delivered by an Irish midwife!!

The mother had wanted a natural birth after having had an epidural with her other children. Her labor went quickly, and it ended up we were able to give her a natural delivery. It was the Birth Story she wanted – she’ll remember it with happiness the rest of her life.

And I think she actually gave her baby an Irish name.

Okay, I have to ask the Irish midwife, what was your maiden name?
Flanagan!

 

 

March 16, 2016

smiling womanThermiVa is performed without the use of lasers, offering patients no recovery time or delay in sexual activity. The procedure only takes 15-30 minutes and requires no preparation time, so it offers flexibility for patients looking to receive treatment without hassle.

How Does ThermiVa Treat Mild Urinary Incontinence
Pregnancy, childbirth and menopause are all contributing factors to urinary incontinence in women. ThermiVa is best for mild stress urinary incontinence, which includes leakage with certain activities, including coughing, sneezing, laughing and during exercise. For these factors, ThermiVa can be an excellent treatment option. Benefits of the ThermiVa include:

  • Reduction in leaking during everyday activities
  • Reduction in the “gotta-go” feeling, or sense of urgency
  • Improvement of muscular coordination and strength of squeeze

ThermiVa and Vaginal Dryness
Another common issue that many women face, particularly after menopause, is vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness occurs during menopause as a result of the body’s decrease in the production of estrogen. ThermiVa treatments promote internal and external vaginal moisture by encouraging new collagen growth and circulation of the blood. Thus, this treatment is useful for menopausal patients who do not want or are unable to use estrogen replacement. ThermiVa can also offer relief for women who are on estrogen-reducing prescriptions such as Tamoxifen, which can cause vaginal dryness.

Are You a Good Candidate?
If you’re interested in receiving the ThermiVa procedure, consider these questions:

  • Are you currently menstruating?
  • Do you have signs of vaginal or bladder infection or severe vaginal pain or pelvic pain?
  • Are you pregnant or could you become pregnant?
  • Do you experience difficulty with tampons staying in, vaginal flatulence, or have you noticed a difference in penetration during intercourse or foreplay?

All physicians at Cherokee Women’s Health are trained and qualified to administer ThermiVa treatments. Our practice also offers patients three physicians (Dr. Litrel, Dr. Gandhi and Dr. Haley) who are board certified in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS). This certification allows them to provide exceptional care in regards to complications related to pelvic floor disorders.

radiant life magazine coverLearn more about our FPMRS physicians and ThermiVa in Radiant You Magazine. Ask for your own copy at our office.

To schedule an appointment to speak to one of our physicians about ThermiVa, contact our office at 770.721.6060.

February 18, 2016

Dr. Michael Litrel volunteers in Honduras photo
by Michael Litrel, MD, FACOG, FPMRS

When my son Tyler was fifteen, I brought him with me on a church mission trip to Honduras. It seemed an inspired idea: I was seized with a vision of him forsaking his Xbox for a transformative week of caring for poor people in a third world country.

Twenty of us boarded the plane headed for rural Central America. Our physical task was to repair homes. Our spiritual task was to learn and teach about God’s love.

Tyler was shocked by the poverty. Forty people lived in the remote village in mud and stick huts. They had no running water or electricity. Wandering the village were dogs so emaciated you could count each rib.

Over the days that followed, Tyler took me to the side several times to sort through his feelings. How could we have so much at home when others in the world have so little?

I was proud of him, growing up, asking the right questions… But as it turned out, he was still an obtuse adolescent. On the last day, we faced a grueling three-mile hike through the steaming jungle to the work site. Tyler assured me he had filled all our water bottles. But when we arrived, I discovered only three of the eight bottles were full. Tyler had gotten lazy and just hadn’t bothered.

I was livid. We had an entire afternoon of physical labor ahead. Don’t you realize we have four THOUSAND pounds of cement to mix? How can we work without water? Blah, blah, blah…

I’m sorry, DAD!!! I GET it! Tyler threw up his hands in exasperation.

I could tell Tyler was more angry than sorry. But I stopped and sulked away, muttering dark thoughts under my breath. I had been proud that Tyler had chosen to come – the youngest in the group by five years. Heaven knows it was gratifying to see his hands finally off the game controller and wielding a shovel full of dirt.

But I didn’t want to hear any adolescent fibs about filling water bottles.

Our project was a hut with a dirt floor, to be replaced with cement. Twenty bags of mix had already been carried to the site. The choice of tasks were these: carry buckets of water from the stream, mix the cement on the ground, carry the wet cement into the hut, or lay down the floor. There were eight of us. It was back-breaking work.

Holding water in cupped hands photoThree hours later, we lay exhausted under the hot equatorial sun. A feeling of discouragement began to creep over us. The floor was only a third done, and we were running out of both cement and energy.

I slumped on a stool. A small village girl named Amalia crept quietly next to me. Her dress was worn, her face dirty, but her smile was glowing. She was one of eight children who lived in this tiny hut. A cement floor would keep her young body off the ground at night.

Tyler rested motionless, his back against a tree. His work efforts had been listless at best. But I kept my criticism to myself. At least he was here.

Just when the job seemed hopeless, a few neighboring villagers arrived to help. Recharged, we resumed mixing cement, carrying bucket after bucket into the hut. Somehow, we now had so much that we could not only cover the entire dirt floor but even make a front porch.

Remarkably, too, our water bottles never ran out. Tyler and I had enough to last all afternoon.

It was a strange and wonderful day in Honduras. Tyler and I had partaken in a kind of miracle: plenty of cement, a floor for Amalia, and even enough water.

For me, it was a spiritual reminder that we are always given enough – an ironic lesson to learn while helping a family whose belongings could fit in the trunk of my car.

It was only later, as I was falling asleep, that I figured out – Tyler had left all the water for me.

Dr. Michael Litrel photo

Excerpted from Dr. Litrel and his wife Ann’s book of “he-said, she-said” stories about love and family.  A MisMatch Made In Heaven: Surviving True Love, Children, and Other Blessings In Disguise is available in the office, and online at www.createspace.com/4229812

 

February 17, 2016

Dr. Gandhi delivering babyWhat are some of your favorite parts about your job?
I really enjoy talking to my patients and caring for women. Especially as a woman. I feel like I can relate to a lot of the same worries and concerns they have.

Also, the spontaneity. This specialty incorporates surgical skills as well as quick-thinking on your feet. It is a moment-to-moment kind of thing, especially when it comes to delivering babies. I always feel totally humbled because when I get to work, my schedule may say one thing, but when I get done, I could have done a C-section at lunchtime or an emergency surgery that afternoon. All in the same day.

Dr. Gandhi graduation photoHave your studies and sub-specializing in FPMRS changed the way you think about patients or how you approach their problems?

The pelvis is such an interesting cavity, containing organs that play a crucial role in muscle support, reproduction and sexual function. After becoming board certified in this subspecialty, I realize that I play a unique role in helping women resolve issues of pelvic organ prolapse, leakage and sexual dysfunction. In fact, I realize how much women think about these embarrassing topics, especially the sexual dysfunction symptoms, and how much their needs change as they get older.

For both menopausal patients and younger patients, it’s becoming a lot more acceptable to talk about sexual dysfunction. There’s a cultural shift going on that is allowing and encouraging women to feel more comfortable talking to their doctors about it. I’ve learned how to talk to patients better about sex, too. And why they’re not enjoying it, and how to improve it. We even do ThermiVa in the office which is a procedure that helps tighten the vaginal canal and improves lubrication. This is cutting-edge technology that provides patients non-surgical options without having to even take hormones.

Another unique piece is the degree in which doctors are challenged to restore the anatomy without using synthetic materials (such as mesh). Patients are looking for surgical options that give them a quick recovery and yet, are successful. Surgical management of prolapse is more tailored to each patient, rather than using synthetic products to augment repair. I think I’m a better surgeon because of it.

What has been your biggest challenge?
I’m very sensitive. I really have to displace myself from taking things to heart. I worry about my patients all the time. How they’re doing; how I can help them. But it can be emotionally draining. I’m trying not to be such a worrywart all the time, and trying to be more objective.

What is your biggest success up until now?
Building up a medical practice that I am proud of – I can think of no other success than being a trusted provider. I think most of my referrals come from other patients. It’s been a slow process for me, but I see the difference in the number of patients after joining Cherokee Women’s eight years ago. I continue to grow and try to improve the care I deliver.

Patients have said to me, “I want to see you because I know you’ll take care of me.” It’s so flattering, it’s such a high. I can’t believe somebody would feel that way about me, especially if they don’t even know me. That’s what I wanted, when I was in medical school and residency, to have a situation where the patient could tell that their doctor loves what they do.

When you were young, how did you picture being a doctor? How is your work the same as that, and how is it different?Dr. Gandhi with mom photo
When you’re young, you don’t live in reality. You live in this foggy, idealistic world. I had a really good mentor, though. I went to high school in a very small town called Amanda, Ohio. Everybody kind of knew each other. My parents owned a grocery store, and we lived on top of the grocery store. I knew I wanted to go to medical school, and I surrounded myself with other people who believed in me and thought I could do it. I always pictured myself looking old (around 30 or so, because when you’re 15, 30 seems so old!), and saying, “Man, I knew I could do it.”

I realize now how naïve I was. The practice of medicine is on-going and fluid. One can never master it. But every great doctor aims high. This is what benefits patients in the long-run, a physician who never stops learning and is never “done.”

What words of wisdom would you give your younger self?

I think I would’ve told myself to have more fun. Trying to get everything done is an accomplishment, but sometimes it can compromise your ability to really grow as a person. If I could tell my fifteen-year-old self anything, I would say take moments to spend time with your family and friends. Every summer, all I did was study or go on some internship or work. And this is the first time in private practice that I’ve actually started taking vacations and making myself a priority.

My dad passed away in November and it’s really impacted my life and how I will live it in the future.

Dr. Gandhi with dad photoWho is one person who has had a tremendous impact on your life, personally or professionally? Why and how did this person impact your life?

Honestly, there is never just one person. My father obviously was my biggest supporter. He never doubted my ability and was so insistent that I could achieve ANYTHING as long as I worked hard. He and my mother and brother have been so crucial in getting me to this point. The sacrifices they made for me through the years, I could never repay. But I strive to make my father proud, every day. I miss talking to him during my lunch breaks. But I know he is with me. I am so lucky to have had HIM as my father, mentor and spiritual role model.

You’ve mentioned that you like Shakti Gawain’s quote, “Our bodies communicate to us clearly and specifically, if we are willing to listen to them.” What are some ways patients can be more in tune with their bodies? What kinds of things should they pay attention to?

I think one thing is to not ignore symptoms. Day to day, you want to think about what you’re putting into your body, and what your body is saying in return. If it’s time for an oil change in your car, and the little light in your dashboard comes on, you’ll probably get your oil changed. Symptoms are the dashboard warning lights. Our bodies communicate to us using these sometimes subtle signs or symptoms. We just have to make sure we heed the warning.

On the flip side, as a doctor, you’ve gotta pay attention too. The answers are there when the patient walks through the door. But they may not have the answers to explain what the patient is feeling. Most of the time, patients don’t want to complain about their symptoms. I ask them if they have any concerns or if they’re having any pain, and sometimes I get, “Not really.” Not really? Who knows what “not really” means in medicine? You have to really explore further.

Ideally, if patients are able to listen to their bodies, they shouldn’t prolong seeking care. A delay in getting care, whether financial, or for some other reason, can lead to disease or other issues that ultimately either require invasive intervention or make an issue untreatable.

February 16, 2016

pregnant woman with heart

This February, Cherokee Women’s Health celebrates American Heart Health Month. After all, moms-to-be aren’t just keeping one heart healthy. From the first time you hear your baby’s heartbeat, your own is racing with anticipation, joy, and more than a few nerves. Keep your heart strong during pregnancy by taking care of your body and your health.

Nutrition During Pregnancy
Every pregnancy is different, and as a mom-to-be, you need your own, doctor-recommended diet to ensure you and your baby get all the nutrients you need. But refocusing on diet and exercise helps you maintain your weight, limit the effects of post-partum, and keep your baby growing strong.

Eat high fiber grains and nuts
Get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids from olive oil and pregnancy-safe fish like salmon
Avoid salt, which can increase blood pressure
Do several low-to-moderate intensity workouts each week, unless your doctor recommends rest
Avoid eating or drinking caffeine, which can cause irregular heartbeats

Avoid Consuming Caffeine
Caffeine increases your blood pressure and heart rate — bad news for both your pregnancy and your heart health. Not only can it lead to dehydration, caffeine crosses the placenta to your baby, who can’t yet metabolize it . Most women know to avoid major sources of caffeine like coffee during pregnancy, but you may not realize how many of your favorite craving snacks sneak caffeine into the mix.

Caffeine is found in:

  • Tea
  • Soda
  • Coffee (even decaf!)
  • Chocolate
  • Energy-enhancing foods and drinks (such as energy water or fortified foods)
  • Coffee or chocolate flavored ice cream
  • Some over-the-counter pain relievers like Excedrin

While it’s considered safe to consume small amounts of caffeine during pregnancy, it’s easy to lose track. Talk to your doctor about how much caffeine is safe for you and your baby during your pregnancy.

Heart Disease and Pregnancy
If you’ve ever been diagnosed with heart disease, high blood pressure, or have had cardiac symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath or palpitations, alert both your cardiologist and your OB-GYN. List all medications you’re taking, and make sure none of them will have adverse side effects on your baby’s development.

For more information on health during pregnancy, contact Cherokee Women’s Health.
 

Pregnancy Image

February 4, 2016

RED-HEARTDid you know heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year? That’s approximately one woman every minute so it’s important to know the symptoms and how you can take control of your risk factors.

Following are the most common heart attack symptoms in women:
Shortness of breath
Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest.
Nausea, vomiting, cold sweat or lightheadedness
Pain or discomfort in any of the following: jaw, neck, stomach, arms (one or both).

How can you help prevent it?
There are many things you can do to control heart disease and with the right information and care, heart disease in women can be treated, prevented and even ended. Studies show that healthy choices have resulted in 330 fewer women dying from heart disease per day.

Here are a few lifestyle changes you should make:
Don’t smoke
Manage your blood sugar
Get your blood pressure under control
Lower your cholesterol
Know your family history
Stay active
Lose weight
Eat healthy

Trust your gut
Women are less likely to call 9-1-1 when experiencing symptoms of a heart attack themselves so trust your gut. If you aren’t feeling normal or are experiencing any of the symptoms above, call 911 or head to your local emergency room.

Northside Hospital-CherokeeSince 1993, Cherokee Women’s Health has delivered more babies at Northside Hospital-Cherokee than all other OB practices combined. Readers of AroundAbout magazines and Family Life Publications have voted Cherokee Women’s Health “Best OB-GYN” in both Canton and Woodstock.

Most recently in 2017, the practice was voted #1 “Reader’s Choice” in all three locations of Towne Lake, Woodstock, and Canton.

 

A Powerhouse OB Team: High-risk Pregnancy Management, Holistic Nutrition and Midwives

Pregnant women who come to Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists find a truly holistic practice, combining a significant depth of knowledge with technological advances. All the physicians have the expertise to manage high-risk obstetrics as needed. Ultrasound services are nationally accredited by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine and headed up by our Chief Ultrasonographer Brenda Peters. Four-dimensional ultrasounds are available when needed for diagnostic purposes, and healthy pregnancies are confirmed with advanced technologies for noninvasive testing including Nuchal Translucency or Cell Free DNA testing.

Dr. Gandhi part of the Best OB-GYN team in Canton and Woodstock.

Dr. Gandhi with a baby delivered at Northside Hospital-Cherokee

Additionally, Drs. Hale and Crigler are experts at noninvasive muscle floor pelvic strengthening options, including Apex and Intensity devices. Both vegans, they build on the mind-body-spirit approach of the practice, with Dr. Hale recently achieving certification in plant-based nutrition from T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. Her election to the National Medical Honor Society Alpha Omega Alpha is a distinction shared by Drs. Litrel and Gandhi.

Our Midwife Team Teaches Other Midwives at Multiple University Programs

Certified Nurse Midwife Susan Griggs and Ruth Roser round out this team of providers to complete the picture of a practice with total dedication to the health of their patients, before and after childbirth. Susan earned her Masters of Nursing with a specialty in Midwifery at Emory University and has served as a clinical preceptor for midwife students at multiple university programs, including Emory University and Kennesaw State.

The Center for Disease Control made headlines this week when they announced that sexually active women of childbearing age should never drink alcohol unless they’re on birth control. The recommendation met with both support and backlash: many women agree that it’s not worth the risk, while others argue that telling 3.3 million women not to drink isn’t feasible. What do you think?

Are You Expecting?

pregnant woman with wineYou probably know that consuming alcohol during pregnancy can negatively impact a baby’s mental, physical, and behavioral development. What you may not know is whether or not you’re expecting. Some moms-to-be take 4 to 6 weeks to realize they’re pregnant. And as many moms of lovable broods know, about half the pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. Even women actively trying to get pregnant might continue drinking. According to the CDC, only 1 in 4 women stops drinking alcohol when they go off birth control. Exposure to even minimal alcohol during pregnancy may affect the baby’s health. So is the risk worth it?

The Effect of Alcohol on Developing Babies

Whether you’re happily expecting or simply trying, we know your baby’s health is your #1 consideration. But you may not realize just how much damage drinking during pregnancy can cause. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause:

FASDs can affect a child’s development both before and after birth. Symptoms can include anything from abnormal facial features and underdeveloped growth to poor memory, attention or hyperactivity disorders, learning disabilities, speech and language problems, and low IQ. Many people suffering from FASDs also have impaired hearing or vision and problems with their hearts, kidneys, or bones.

Make the Healthy Choice

At Cherokee Women’s Health, we advocate for the health of mothers and their babies. All expectant mothers should refrain from drinking alcohol during pregnancy. If you’re trying to get pregnant, we recommend that you stop drinking alcohol until you go back on birth control. If you discover you’re pregnant unexpectedly, stop drinking immediately. Inform your doctor about any alcohol you may have consumed in the early stages of your pregnancy.

Cherokee Women’s Health has a team of obstetricians, certified nurse-midwives, and board certified surgeons on staff. We specialize in normal and high risk pregnancies, with expert care providers trained in both natural and standard births. To learn more about how to ensure a healthy pregnancy, call today to make an appointment with one of our providers.

Wine and Pregnancy Image

Dr. Sara Bolden picDr. Sara Bolden is a Women’s Health Physical Therapist, board certified Women’s Health Clinical Specialist, owner of Women First Rehabilitation in Woodstock, GA, and author of What a Girl Wants: The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex.

Adopting a Higher Quality Obstetrical Care Model for Women in the United States

If you’ve ever had a baby, witnessed one being delivered or heard of someone’s detailed labor and delivery story, one thing’s for sure, there was pain involved. We’re not talking about a little discomfort here, folks. We’re talking about deep, intense, I-could-kill-the-man-that-did-this-to-me pain. Quite honestly, we’ve come to expect extreme bodily pain during a situation like this. It would be absolutely crazy to think otherwise. I mean, we’re talking about a small melon exiting out of an opening the size of a child’s sock. Yes, the sock will stretch, the melon will emerge, but not without some repercussions…sometimes big repercussions. Often, these consequences can be serious and have lasting musculoskeletal effects. So what’s a girl to do?

Physical Therapists are NOT Massage Therapists
Many would say, childbirth trauma is inevitable so proverbially “push” through the pain and try to get over it quickly. Unfortunately, this is frequently the default response to childbirth in the United States. There is little to no preparation of the pelvic floor muscles, the low back, the abdomen, nor education for proper breathing, delivery positioning, energy conservation or anything, for that matter, that adequately prepares the body’s musculoskeletal system for the delivery of a small human being. However, for many years now, international countries, such as England, Germany, Australia, Brazil and South Africa (to name a few), have taken proactive measures to assist women with labor and delivery and thus lower the risk of long-term musculoskeletal injuries or urogenital dysfunctions. One way they have elevated the standard of obstetrical care is to include physical therapists throughout pregnancy, during labor/delivery and for post-partum recovery. You might be saying to yourself, “Physical Therapists? Don’t they just give massages?” Brace yourselves…wait for it…no, they don’t. Physical therapists are not massage therapists. They are, however, musculoskeletal experts that have unique knowledge of the evaluation, assessment, treatment, disease/injury prevention and general wellness of the human body.

The Difference a Women’s Health Physical Therapist Makes
In other countries, the physical therapists that assist with prenatal and post-partum women are called obstetrical physiotherapists and have advanced skill and training in women’s health. In the United States, we call them women’s health physical therapists. I know, ingenious. They, too, have advanced knowledge and extensive training in women’s health; however in the U.S., their services have only been considered for the prenatal patient with abnormal or life-altering pain or for the complicated post-partum patient with pain and/or pelvic floor dysfunction (i.e. urinary incontinence, organ prolapse or pain with intercourse).

Higher Standards of Obstetrical Care
If the U.S. adopted a more comprehensive standard of obstetrical care, every pregnant women would be evaluated by a women’s health physical therapist. During the prenatal phase, she would get education and training on pelvic floor stabilization, core strengthening, body mechanics, birthing positions, perineal massage, breathing, relaxation and proper Valsalva for effective pushing, etc. Then, a women’s health physical therapist would be included in the delivery room to help with pain management, assist with birthing positions that open the pelvis and decrease risk of vaginal tearing, perform perineal massage to allow adequate room for the decent of baby, provide biomechanical support and coach the patient on the when’s and how’s of proper pushing…just like obstetrical physiotherapists are doing right now in other countries!

After the birth of the baby, post-partum women would follow up with their women’s health physical therapist to assess healing of vaginal and/or abdominal tissues, be educated on scar management and facilitated tissue recovery, learn mechanics for lifting baby as well as for breastfeeding and restoring pelvic strength. Of equal importance, women’s health physical therapists would help new moms get their bodies back in shape, set realistic goals and expectations of motherhood and restore her vibrant, sexual health. Yes, I said “vibrant!” Who wouldn’t want that?!

Good news! You belong to a cutting-edge OB-GYN practice and are hearing about women’s health physical therapists! I invite you to do a little research and see for yourself how effective this type of physical therapy is for pregnancy, labor, delivery and post-partum. Don’t be shy: ask your doctor to include physical therapy as part of your prenatal and post-partum experience.

Company bio:
Women First Rehabilitation is an elite healthcare practice devoted exclusively to treating individuals with pelvic pain, urogynecologic disorders and pelvic floor dysfunction in all phases of life. All of our practitioners are licensed women’s health physical therapists with advanced knowledge and training in women’s health. For more information, visit www.WomenFirstRehab.com.

January 21, 2016

Your feedback is very important to us. The doctors and staff at Cherokee Women’s Health care about what you want from your doctor visits, which is why we regularly survey our patients. Your feedback tells us that you want doctors who listen, spend time with you and have a great bedside manner. And of course, you want an educated physician who can clearly explain your symptoms and treatment options.

Dr. Litrel wants every patient of Cherokee Women’s Health to feel seen, heard and compassionately cared for so he has hand-picked an amazing team of caring, compassionate and highly educated doctors. All our providers pride themselves on engaging with their patients while making sure the patient feels accepted and heard while discussing symptoms or treatment.

Following are a few testimonials from our patients:

Dr Litrel is always very caring and considerate. He listens to your symptoms without making you feel like he’s in a hurry to move on to the next patient. He has offered alternative help with my Sjogren’s Syn. Disorder. He treats you with respect.” Sue H.

“Dr. Gandhi serviced my prenatal appointments, and I thoroughly appreciated how she listened to me and my body. Nothing unnatural was forced, which I believe helped in a very smooth delivery. She was always very upbeat and her excitement bubbled over. By the end of each visit, I was always smiling. Susan delivered my baby, and she did a wonderful job. She was very comforting and soothing. Again, I appreciate how she let my body naturally deliver the baby it its own time. This was a wonderful pregnancy and birthing experience.””Billi R.

“Doctors actually listen to me and do what’s best for me. They care more than another other doctor I’ve been to.” Emilee Z.

“In June of 2011, I was rushed to Northside Hospital in Canton in severe pain only to find I had a ruptured tubal pregnancy. My family and I were so devastated. Dr. Litrel came to my bedside and prayed with us, and then I was rushed to the operating room for surgery. He was so wonderful, kind and had the best bedside manner. It’s February of 2012, and we are expecting again. Everyone in the office is so kind and respectful. I wouldn’t have any other group of doctors take care of me in our situation, and couldn’t imagine any other doctor bringing our miracle baby into this world.” Kimberly L.

“Dr. Gandhi is an extremely professional and caring doctor. She always makes sure that I am completely informed of what is going on with me. She also explains everything in a manner that is easily understood. I am so thankful for her hard work, dedication, and concern for my well-being. I cannot imagine trusting anyone else with my health than Dr. Gandhi and Cherokee Women’s.” Lyn B.

Cherokee Women’s Health wants to be your OB/GYN healthcare provider. With a diverse group of five doctors – male and female – a seasoned midwife and a nurse practitioner, we believe you will find the care, compassion and excellent care that you are seeking. Please call 770-720-7733 or visit cherokeewomenshealth.com to schedule an appointment today at our Canton or Woodstock locations.

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“Dr. Litrel was a fantastic doctor. I had my first exam with him, although at first I was skeptical about a male doctor for my GYN. But after I met him I’m glad I kept an open mind, and I couldn’t have dreamed up a better doctor. He cares about you as a person and not just a patient. The front desk ladies and nurses were very friendly and it’s a great office, very clean and not intimidating. I highly recommend Cherokee Women’s Health.”
– Vicki