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Take a Deep Breath and PUSH!

Bringing a child into the world is one of the most joyous occasions a woman will experience. But it can be an anxious time as well.

That’s why Lexington Medical Center offers a free Doula program to help expectant mothers and families through one of life’s most meaningful events.

Hodnette3Recently, Stephanie Hodnette of Lexington delivered her third child at Lexington Medical Center. This was also the third time she had help from a hospital doula.

“I was actually able to deliver all of my children without medication because of the tremendous support from each of my doulas,” said Stephanie.

The mother to three young boys, Stephanie is a patient of Lexington Women’s Care, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. And from her very first prenatal appointment for her first son, she knew she wanted to attempt a non-medicated birth.

“If not for the doula’s coaching and help with pain management, I wouldn’t have been able to deliver my children without medication. Their guidance and emotional support helped my husband and me – especially the first time,” she said.

Doulas are trained to work with a woman’s physician or midwife and her nurse to provide emotional encouragement and physical comfort measures during and after childbirth. They will also visit the new mother the next day, offering additional support, breastfeeding assistance and helpful information. All women, even those who have a medicated birth, can benefit from using a doula.

“With Stephanie, her husband and I took turns fanning her to help keep her cool. And as her breathing pattern changed, I alerted the nurse to her behavior, allowing her to transition into the pushing phase of delivery,” said Irene Brinkmann, a Lexington Medical Center doula. “Even though Stephanie and her husband are experienced parents, using a doula gave them a sense of peace. They knew that they had help,” said Irene.

Importantly, doulas do not take the place of family members during delivery.

“Our doula offered encouragement to my husband, too. She suggested things he could do for me that I couldn’t think of at the time,” said Stephanie.

“We try to recognize the little needs that make the experience more comfortable for everyone: a rocking chair for an alternative laboring position; a warm blanket for a chilly, but excited grandma; an extra pillow in just the right spot; a washcloth on a hot forehead; the first drink of juice after the little one arrives; or taking a picture of the happy new family,” said Irene.

Lexington Medical Center has one of the first hospital-based doula programs in the country and the only doula program in the Midlands. To learn more, please call (803) 791-2631 or visit LexMed.com.

The Lexington Medical Center Foundation provides important programs and services that help people in our community, including cancer patients. Please consider giving to the Lexington Medical Center Foundation during the Central Carolina Community Foundation’s “Midlands Gives” challenge on May 5. Learn more at MidlandsGives.org.

Lexington Medical Center Begins 3D Mammography

As part of a comprehensive program for the diagnosis of breast cancer, Lexington Medical Center is pleased to announce it now offers 3D mammography. This new breast cancer screening tool creates a group of three dimensional images of the breast and allows doctors to view tissue one millimeter at a time, making tiny details visible earlier and easier. 3D mammography, also known as digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), is currently recommended for women who are having their first screening mammogram or who have dense breast tissue.

mammogramXLexington Medical Center is the first facility in the Midlands to offer this technology. Studies in the Journal of The American Medical Association have shown that 3D mammography increases breast cancer detection, and reduces false positives and unnecessary callbacks for patients with dense breast tissue.

“Lexington Medical Center is excited to offer this leading edge technology for breast cancer screening,” said Dr. Beth Siroty-Smith, director of Women’s Imaging services for Lexington Radiology Associates at Lexington Medical Center. “3D mammography reduces difficulties in identifying abnormalities in women with denser breast tissue and results in increased cancer detection.”

In the images below, you see a 2D mammogram on the left and a 3D image (Tomosynthesis) on the right. The suspicious area in the 2D image is more blurry and easier to miss. In the 3D (Tomosynthesis) images on the right, it’s more clearly defined and an obvious abnormality.

Read_Me_Case_6_-_Cancer_Cases_1_.pdf

Read_Me_Case_6_-_Cancer_Cases.pdf

3D mammography uses a low dose X-ray to create multiple images within seconds that are similar to the “slices” of images in a CT scan. The FDA-approved procedure uses the same type of equipment as a 2D mammogram and a similar dose of radiation. Women who have questions about whether or not they should receive a 3D mammogram should talk to their doctor.

breast cancer ribbonWomen who are having a first screening mammogram or whose doctors have told them they have dense breast tissue may schedule a 3D mammogram at Lexington Medical Center’s Women’s Imaging facility on the main hospital campus in West Columbia. Women’s Imaging will nearly double the number of daily scheduling slots in an effort to accommodate all interested women. Evening and weekend hours will also soon be available. To schedule an appointment, please call (803) 791-2486.

In addition to being an American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, Lexington Medical Center’s breast program has accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers and the cancer program has accreditation with commendation by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.

What To Expect When You’re Not Expecting It

Dr. Nichole McDonald, OB/GYN at Lexington Women’s Care, was a guest on WLTX recently to talk about “What To Expect When You’re Not Expecting It.” The discussion centered around everything you wish you knew, but no one ever told you. Check it out in the link below.

Here are a few notes from Dr. McDonald’s interview:

~Puberty begins in African American girls around age 8 or 9, and in Caucasian girls around age 10. It’s important that parents help walk them through their daughters through those changes.

~A woman should see her gynecologist once each year, beginning when she becomes sexually active or between the ages of 18 and 21.

~We begin screening for cervical cancer at age 21. As long as pap smears are normal, we now screen every 3 to 5 years.

~During pregnancy, nausea and vomiting are typical early in pregnancy. But if it causes more than 10 pounds of weight loss, call your doctor. And, if you feel regular tightening of your abdomen before 34 weeks gestation, you should call your doctor.

~Before menopause begins, women will begin noticing changes in their menstrual cycle – the cycle will become more erratic and irregular. Menopause occurs when a woman goes one year without a menstrual cycle.

~Bone density is a measure of the amount of mineralization of a bone per cubic centimeter. When a woman starts to have thinning of the bones, we start worrying about osteoporosis. We begin screening for that around age 65. Women should get a good amount of calcium throughout their life to prevent osteoporosis. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.