Category: News

Nine life-saving health screenings for women

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed how we receive health care. Early in the pandemic, wellness visits were canceled or postponed and many in-person appointments have since turned into telehealth visits.

Rebecca Baudoin, MD, Western OB/GYN, A Division of Ridgeview Clinics, encourages women to prioritize scheduling their recommended appointments. “No one will take care of you, except you! There will be no judgment about any delay; we just want to optimize your health and get screenings caught up,” Baudoin said.

When was the last time you had a wellness exam? Are there screenings you have missed due to the pandemic? Dr. Baudoin outlines nine important women’s health screenings.

  1. Pelvic exam. Pelvic exams are recommended beginning at age 21 to assess your cervix, uterus and ovaries. A Pap test is also recommended at age 21 for cervical cancer screening. When a woman reaches age 30, a human papillomavirus (HPV) test is recommended, which can be performed from the same swab as the Pap. This swab collect cells from the cervix to check for any abnormalities that could lead to cervical cancer. Both are repeated every one to three years, based on recent health history.
  2. Breast exam. Women should be familiar with their breasts in order to recognize any new lumps or changes. Your health care provider will perform a breast exam at your annual wellness appointment. If a lump or concerning tissue is found, they may order a non-routine mammogram or breast ultrasound as a precaution.
  3. Mammogram. A mammogram takes radiographic photos of your breast tissue and identifies changes and abnormalities. Dr. Baudoin recommends an annual mammogram for women beginning at age 40 to check for signs of breast cancer. A 3D mammogram is currently the best available technology in mammographic breast cancer screening. If your insurance only covers 2D mammograms, Dr. Baudoin suggests paying out-of-pocket for the difference in cost to still have the 3D images done―an option you might consider doing every other year.
  4. Skin cancer exam. Your health care provider will check your skin thoroughly for any new or suspicious moles or signs of skin cancer. You should pay close attention to the size, shape and texture of any mole you have and notify your provider of any changes.
  5. Blood pressure screening. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease. Your health care provider will check your blood pressure regularly at each wellness visit. Blood pressure numbers less than 120/80 are considered within the normal range.
  6. Cholesterol screening. Women over the age of 40 should have a blood test to check their cholesterol levels every five years. High cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
  7. Diabetes screening. Women over the age of 40 should also have their blood screened for diabetes every three years. Dr. Baudoin advises that women who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy may need to be screened for diabetes and high cholesterol earlier than age 40.
  8. Colonoscopy. A colonoscopy uses a scope to view the inside of the colon and rectum. Early detection is crucial for discovering polyps and treating colon cancer. Women with average risk—those without personal or family history—should begin colonoscopy screenings at age 45.
  9. Osteoporosis screening. During and post-menopause, women’s bones may begin to weaken. A bone density test (DEXA) is suggested for women over 65 to check for osteoporosis. This test uses x-rays to measure the strength of the bones.

Regular wellness exams and health screenings are key to prevention. It’s important to talk with your health care provider about the role personal and family history may have on when and how often you should have these screenings. If you are due for your wellness visit, schedule an appointment at Western OB/GYN, A Division of Ridgeview Clinics.

 

Expectant mom chooses water birth to experience natural childbirth

After having an epidural with her first son in 2019, Shelby Hallblade, Carver, knew she wanted to try a more natural approach the second time around. “When I had an epidural with my first born, Silas, I didn’t know there was another way,” Shelby said. This time she wanted to be more educated about her options. A co-worker recommended Leah Schroeder, nurse midwife, Western OB/GYN, A Division of Ridgeview Clinics.

“Leah spent 30 minutes with me at my first appointment. Not only did she answer my questions, but she asked me questions and challenged me to think about things that I hadn’t even considered. I learned that I could do things naturally and that pain was not to be feared, but could be managed. Leah educated me and advocated for natural childbirth. She listened to me and respected my wishes,” Shelby said.

Choosing a natural childbirth in a hospital setting
Planning a birth at Ridgeview’s Birthing Center gave Shelby and her husband, Kyle, the option of the natural birth they had envisioned, while providing comfort in knowing they had full access to the resources and services Ridgeview offers including a Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), if needed.

“In childbirth, things can sometimes go wrong. It is good to have someone there if you need it. I felt comfortable at Ridgeview, like being at a hotel or home. It was very nice without the hospital feeling,” Shelby said. The nurturing and inviting birthing suites feature large jetted tubs to allow for water births aided by certified nurse midwives. A water birth was appealing to Shelby to help her relax and manage pain during the birth process.

Blessed with a sign of good luck—rare en caul birth
After laboring at home for two hours, Shelby was eight centimeters dilated when she arrived at Ridgeview on March 19, 2021. Schroeder was waiting for her upon arrival.

Schroeder helped Shelby into the tub, guided her breathing between contractions and worked through various techniques to help Shelby manage her pain. “Leah was with me the whole time—from the time I arrived at the hospital until delivery and after—supporting me through each contraction.”

Baby Sawyer was born just 45 minutes after the Hallblades arrived at the hospital and was born en caul. An en caul birth is a rare occurrence where the baby is born inside an intact amniotic sac, occurring in one to two percent of vaginal births, which is less than 1 in 80,000 births. In many cultures, an en caul birth is seen as a sign of good luck. It was good luck sign to the Hallblades, as they were blessed with a healthy newborn following the natural birth they had envisioned.

Managing the pain of childbirth naturally

“Leah helped me feel more in tune with my body and helped me understand and allow things to happen naturally. I was able to feel everything, and I learned how to work through it.” Shelby said. Some of the techniques that helped Shelby manage the pain of childbirth naturally were:
+ Developing a calming music playlist that played on the speakers in the birthing suite
+ Diffusing essential oils
+ Hearing positive affirmations & bible verses that Shelby had on notecards
+ Creating a calming atmosphere

Shelby noticed immediately how much easier the recovery was for her second birth compared to her first, something she credits to the water birth.

Using a nurse midwife—pregnancy, birth, post-partum and beyond
Shelby was impressed with how everyone at Ridgeview respected her wishes for a natural birth, and that Schroeder was with her for the entire journey—pregnancy, birth, post-partum support and beyond. Shelby continues to see Schroeder as her primary care provider. She sees Schroeder and the team at Western OB/GYN for everything from annual physicals and screenings, to natural family planning and has already referred many friends as patients to the practice.

Take a virtual tour of Ridgeview’s Birthing Center and learn more about the providers at Western OB/GYN, A Division of Ridgeview Clinics.

Western OB/GYN transitions to new Electronic Medical Record on Aug. 1, 2021

Western OB/GYN, A Division of Ridgeview Clinics, is transitioning to a new Electronic Medical Record called Epic on Aug. 1, 2021.  This medical record will be the same for the entire organization.

This means however, that our current patient portal – My Health Record – will no longer be updated as of Aug 1, 2021, and it will not be available for you to access at all beginning Sept. 1, 2021.

The good news is we will have a new patient portal called MyChart available Aug. 1, 2021.  MyChart is a secure online health record portal very similar to My Health Record.  All of the information from our old electronic medical record and available to you in My Health Record during the last 5 years will be converted to our new electronic medical record and be available to you via MyChart.

To use this new portal, you will need to register as a new user with MyChart any time after Aug. 1.

To make that registration process easier, you will automatically be sent an email inviting you to register MyChart when you schedule an appointment with us after Aug. 1. You will be guided through the registration process after responding to that email invitation. After successfully opening your MyChart account, you will see all your Western OB/GYN health record information for the last 5 years.

Thank you for your confidence in Western OB/GYN.

Katelyn Neufeld, CNM, now sees patients at Western OB/GYN, A Division of Ridgeview Clinics

Katelyn Neufeld, CNM

Katelyn Neufeld, CNM, now provides midwifery care to women at   Western OB/GYN, A Division of Ridgeview Clinics. She began seeing patients at Two Twelve Medical Center in Chaska and the Ridgeview Professional Building in Waconia in early November.

Neufeld received her nursing degree from Crown College in St. Bonifacius, Minn., and later earned her Master’s in Certified Nurse-Midwifery from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn., while working as a nurse at Ridgeview.

“I recognized my passion in caring for women through pregnancy and childbirth when I volunteered at a birthing center in Uganda after graduating from high school,” Neufeld said. “Since then, I have supported hundreds of women in childbirth, first as a birth doula, then as a labor and delivery nurse, and now as a midwife. I have a strong desire to promote family-centered care and advocate for shared decision-making as women navigate pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and beyond.”

To schedule an appointment with Katelyn Neufeld, call 952-442-2137.

What your teenage girl can expect at her first gynecology visit

Rebecca Baudoin, MD, Western OB/GYN, A Division of Ridgeview Clinics, sees female patients in their teens and continuing through their lifespan for a variety of women’s health concerns. Her patients often ask, ‘When should I bring my teenage daughter for her first visit? At what age does it make sense to transition from her pediatrician to a women’s health specialist?’

Dr. Baudoin helps moms make this decision by discussing reasons for making that first appointment. She addresses some of the worries that girls might feel about seeing a gynecologist for the first time. “Typically, a teenager in my office can expect mostly talking,” Dr. Baudoin said. “I don’t tend to do a pelvic exam at that first visit for my teenagers. The standard is to begin those at age 21, when the first Pap smear is due, unless she has a specific problem we need to sort out. Just knowing that can relieve some of the fear and anxiety. No one should have to fear going to the gynecologist!”

Watch the video below to learn more:

What it’s like having a baby during the pandemic

mom and baby

“I wasn’t terribly worried about COVID-19 until Governor Walz issued the stay-at-home order at the end of March,” said Sarah Cowell from Arlington, Minn., who was nearly 8 months pregnant with her fourth child at the time. “I quickly became concerned and had a long list of questions for my provider.”

Sarah has delivered all four of her children at Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia and all with a provider from Western OB/GYN, A Division of Ridgeview Clinics. Her last two children were delivered by Rebecca Baudoin, MD.

Having a baby during the pandemic

“Dr. Baudoin was amazing. During one particular prenatal visit, we just sat together and had a long conversation about COVID. Although there is still so much unknown, Dr. Baudoin was very knowledgeable about new findings about the disease and how it would affect my labor and delivery, and safety of me and my baby.”

I learned that:

1. Mother-to-child transmission of COVID-19 during pregnancy is unlikely.

2. Pregnant women who do become ill with COVID-19 may get sicker than non-pregnant individuals because of changes related to pregnancy and should follow closely with their health care team.*

3. If a pregnant woman is ill with COVID-19 at the time of delivery, Ridgeview has a process in place to still take care of mother and baby AND separation of a new mother and baby is never forced, but a shared decision that the mother makes after an informed discussion with the health care team.

“We talked about all of it and I left that appointment feeling at ease—that everything would be ok.

It was a bit different planning and having my baby during COVID. I had to be screened (answer a few questions) prior to entering the clinic for a prenatal visit and everyone stayed 6 feet apart when checking in. Wait times were minimal, if any, and masks were required by all staff and patients.

I had to self-quarantine 14 days prior to my scheduled C-section and I also received a COVID-19 test prior to surgery, which came back negative.

What didn’t change during my experience was the amazing care I received at Ridgeview. I appreciated all of these extra precautions and felt completely safe and comfortable the entire time.

Dr. Baudoin had assured me that having Evie during the pandemic would be every bit as special as my other birthing experiences—and she was right. The compassion and kindness shown by my entire care team was amazing and I am grateful for everything that was done for me and Evie. We were treated like royalty,” Sarah said.

“When Dr. Baudoin delivered Evie, she squealed with delight. It was evident she was just as excited to meet her as we were.”

*Modified from previous version to reflect the change in CDC designation of pregnant women as a high risk group.

Heidi Edsill, MD, joins Western OB/GYN, A Division of Ridgeview Clinics

Heidi Edsill, MDHeidi Edsill, MD, has joined Western OB/GYN, A Division of Ridgeview Clinics and sees patients at its Waconia, Chaska and Arlington clinic locations. The addition of Dr. Edsill grows the long-established practice to 12 providers, caring for women’s health at all stages of life.

Dr. Edsill received her Doctorate of Medicine from Creighton University in Omaha, NE, and completed her residency at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN. She then spent six years as an associate professor at Creighton where she uncovered a strong interest as an educator.

“I am able to quickly connect with patients and build trusting relationships by explaining information in an understandable way, and encouraging them to ask questions. My goal is to provide my patients with the information they need to make educated decisions for themselves,” she said.

Growing up in the Midwest, Dr. Edsill is happy to return to the area and be near family. She lives in Chaska with her husband and two sons.

To schedule an appointment call 952-442-2137.

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