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LMC Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Doula Program

Lexington Medical Center is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its first-of-its-kind doula program. A doula is a birth coach who offers mothers comfort and reassurance during labor and delivery. In 1994, the hospital began an innovative doula program that was the first-of-its-kind in the Southeast. The program has received national recognition and serves as a benchmark for programs around the country. Thanks to support from the Lexington Medical Center Foundation and its donors, doulas are a free service for any woman having a baby at Lexington Medical Center.

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“Lexington Medical Center’s doulas have been invaluable to the women of the Midlands,” said Nydia Harter, MSN, RN, NEA, BC, director of Nursing at Lexington Medical Center. “Over the past 20 years, they have supported thousands of women and families during one of the most important times of their lives – the birth of their babies.”

Doulas are experienced professionals who undergo training specific to assisting pregnant women and newborns. In addition to understanding the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of women in labor, doulas also facilitate communication between parents-to-be, help prepare birth plans and provide information about birth and delivery options. Postpartum doulas offer education, support and assistance to the new family. A doula brings much-needed confidence to a new mother through breastfeeding support and advice, newborn care and assistance with household duties.

The Lexington Medical Center Foundation sponsors the hospital’s doula program. LMC’s doula program is based on the highest standards of care set by Doulas of North America (DONA), the largest doula association in the world.

Lexington Medical Center’s innovative doula program has earned the prestigious Annie Kennedy Award from DONA. The award recognizes LMC doulas for excellence and dedication to their community as well as growth and teamwork in their program.

Lexington Medical Center has 16 doulas on staff and almost half of the doulas have been with LMC for ten years or more. Since the LMC doula program began, it has assisted more than 8,400 families.

Lexington Medical Center will recognize Lexington Medical Center’s past and present doulas at a special reception on July 29th on the hospital campus. Former doulas can contact the Lexington Medical Center Foundation at 791-2540 for more information on the event.

To learn more about LMC’s doula program, visit this link on the hospital’s website:
http://www.lexmed.com/medical-services/birth-center/delivery/doulas, or Lexington Medical Center’s Facebook page.

For information on training to become a doula, visit www.dona.org

Hold it! How to Stop Urinary Incontinence

By John Moore, MD of Vista Women’s Healthcare

Can you imagine getting up to deliver a talk to your PTA or employees and having to worry about leaking urine if you happen to cough, sneeze or laugh? Do you know where every bathroom is at your favorite store? These are daily worries for millions of women. Urinary incontinence—the involuntary leakage of urine—is treatable in the majority of cases and should be discussed with your physician any time that it is a concern for you. Your primary care physician will either initiate treatment or make an appropriate referral, usually to a gynecologist or urologist, if necessary.
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The two most common types of incontinence are stress incontinence and urge incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs with sneezing, laughing, coughing or exercising. It is usually caused by a weakening of the tissues that support the bladder or the muscles of the urethra. This weakening can be caused by pregnancy, childbirth or even just normal wear and tear from aging. Urge incontinence occurs when there is a strong, sudden urge to urinate and there is leakage before you can get to the restroom. It is also called overactive bladder and occurs when the muscles in the wall of the bladder contract too easily. The two types also frequently occur together, a situation referred to as mixed urinary incontinence. Incontinence may be associated with other symptoms such as frequent strong urges to urinate even if the bladder is not full, urinating much more frequently than normal and bed-wetting.

Identifying the cause of incontinence is essential to enable your physician to prescribe appropriate treatment for you. A thorough history and physical exam may identify treatable causes of incontinence such as bladder infections or medication side effects. A pelvic exam is necessary to detect loss of support of the bladder and urethra. In cases where the cause is not certain, your physician may ask you to keep track of how often and how much you urinate over several days. You may also be asked to undergo bladder, or urodynamic, testing to more adequately evaluate bladder function. Cystoscopy, where a thin lighted tube with a camera on it is inserted into the bladder is sometimes needed as well. These tests allow a very accurate diagnosis and help your physician determine what treatments will work for your incontinence and, maybe more importantly, which ones won’t!

Dr. John Moore of Vista Women's Healthcare

Dr. John Moore of Vista Women’s Healthcare

There are many options for treating urinary incontinence. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, smoking cessation, reducing caffeine intake and treating a chronic cough may help. Bladder training by voiding on a more frequent “timed” schedule, whether you need to go or not, may reduce urge incontinence. Kegel exercises tone the muscles around the urethra and vaginal opening and often reduce both urge and stress incontinence symptoms. Physical therapy and biofeedback are sometimes used to help you learn which muscles to contract. Medications in pill, patch or gel form are often prescribed for urge incontinence and can help immensely. They may, however, have side effects such as dry mouth and constipation which are bothersome. Surgical therapy is usually reserved for stress incontinence and takes several forms. A bulking agent may be injected into the tissue around your urethra to help it stay closed, a procedure that is usually performed in the office. More invasive surgery to support the bladder and urethra is performed in the hospital and requires incisions in the vagina or abdomen. These surgeries include placing slings underneath the urethra or supporting the bladder neck and urethra with sutures placed lateral to them and tied to higher tissue to give support.

Finally, in cases where surgery is not an option, a pessary may be prescribed. This device is placed in the vagina to provide bladder support.

Incontinence can be an embarrassing problem but definitely a treatable one. Plan a visit with your physician today to discuss your concerns and regain your control!

Healthy Breakfasts

This week on WIS News 10 Sunrsie, Health Directions personal trainer Jennifer Mangum was a guest with news anchor Len Kiese and weather forecaster Tim Miller to talk about healthy breakfast choices. Before you take a bite of that sugary, carb-filled cereal, watch below to hear Jennifer’s advice for starting your day right.