My Time with You
There are numerous wonderful gynecologists or Primary Care Providers (PCPs) in our area, and I have a relationship with many of them. However, as an ND, I practice a bit differently. Though I may treat similar physical ailments and challenges, my approach includes a number of different modalities in getting yout towards health and wellness. These include food and nutrition habits, appropriate supplementation, hydrotherapy, exercise, and mindfulness. Unlike general ObGyns or PCP’s, my schedule allows for extended time with my patients so that I am able to address aspects of health and wellness from a myriad of perspectives.
What I Do Before “Going to Meds”
Many PCPs or ObGyns will offer medication to new moms who are struggling. This seems to be a common approach to perinatal mental health struggles offered by medical providers, and there is certainty validity in this treatment approach for women who are struggling with significant symptoms and when other methods or support and treatment do not work well enough. While I am not opposed to a pharmaceutical approach if necessary, I’d like to share some important considerations.
1. Sometimes medicine it is not the best treatment approach for every mother but it may be the only approach offered. I offer individualized care with choices specific to each woman sitting in front of me, based on her specific situation. I do this without judgment and with each mother’s unique history, preference, and goals in mind.
2. Medicine works best with psychotherapy, but it is not always sold that way. When many women get referred to me, they are taking antidepressants prescribed by a PCP without therapy and/or regular check-ins with a medical provider. My approach is different. I believe that all medicine, including the medicine I offer, should be used as leverage to discover new tools and to develop new habits to manage this transitional time in life and beyond.
I work in collaboration with a variety of other excellent providers specializing in early family life (a variety of psychotherapists, lactation consultant, acupuncturist, pelvic floor physical therapist, psychiatrist, and sleep specialist). When I treat a mom, I often collaborate with these other providers, and/or any referring providers. This is in addition to any other provider the patient would like me to coordinate care with. I understand the importance of having a care team that works together. Because of our commitment to collaborative care at the PWCB, I am familiar with our therapist group; if a woman needs a therapist, I am able to make a “best fit” referral so that my patients are well matched with a therapist based on unique priorities and needs.
During Well-Woman Visits, The Woman (That’s You) Has the Voice
Along with general health support and treatment for illnesses, I offer flexible, patient-centered, well-woman care including postpartum checks, pelvic exams, and pap smears. Again, I practice with a commitment to individualized care and I take time with each patient. As a postpartum mom, this is not your typical “clear to resume sex” visit. During any pelvic exam, the women who I see are in control and have choices. I use a trauma-informed approach for the entire well-woman visit. I do everything I can to make this visit as comfortable as possible for my patients. And I am always open to feedback.
Sound like you need to learn more or make an appointment? Call me: 720-340-0193
For more details on my practice see www.harmonyfamilymed.com
Note: I am not a primary care provider, so don’t ditch the one you have for me! I will be happy to coordinate care with your primary care provider, or even refer you to a great one if you don’t currently have a relationship with a PCP.
By Meghan Van Vleet, ND, RND