Soothing, relaxing, comfortable and spa-like. Not terms you typically associate with a busy hospital, but you can at St. Elizabeth’s new Women’s Wellness Center.
St. Elizabeth’s new Women’s Wellness Center in Ft. Thomas, which spans nearly 8,000 square feet, is one of the largest wellness centers in Northern Kentucky. At the wellness center, you can find various services available for women like mammograms, breast biopsies and breast ultrasounds just to name a few.
This array of services is conducted by a dedicated group of physicians, nurses, surgeons and technicians with the most up-to-date technology and top of the line medicine. “Nurse Navigators” for the Breast Health Clinic are also at the wellness center. These individuals reach out to women as if they were their own patients. If an ailment is found in a woman, the Nurse Navigator will pilot you to the next step in the process, explain different options and can go as far on the journey as seeing the women through their treatments.
"You don’t feel like your battling the unknown and battling alone," says Sandra Sims, St. Elizabeth marketing director. "You have a partner."
Women are generally the caregivers. For those women who have families, the last thing on their mind is to take care of themselves. So, they take care of the loved ones who surround them, but not themselves. Not only is care taking a major role for women, but they are also involved in many activities such as kids’ sports and being active in their community which creates a busier life.
"We create a convenient location where it is comfortable to go and receive various testing," Sims says.
Not only are these various services offered at the wellness center, but “Power Lunches” are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Power Lunches were St. Elizabeth’s first initiative to make the dreaded mammogram a bit more enjoyable. A trial period with this experience was completed, and within a month of advertising, St. Elizabeth was booked. By creating a new location in Ft. Thomas and adding an extra day to the lunch, the Women’s Wellness Center has seen exponential growth since last fall.
"We have found that it’s a perfect fit for busy women," Sims says. "These locations are so convenient for women who work downtown or in Northern Kentucky."
Instead of planning a trip to the movies on a girl’s day out, plan a trip to the Women’s Wellness Center by treating yourselves to the power lunch. You can take up to 10 friends with you to receive a massage, a healthy meal and the advantage of having a mammogram completed. "Early detection of breast cancer is key," Sims says.
It is important for women of all ages to take a time out to put their selves first. Don’t let a 10-hour work day stop you in caring for your body. Be your own advocate.
Something Unique – Doula
While women’s wellness programs are the new and exciting development in traditional healthcare, non-traditional healthcare is "doula"ing it out.
They are not doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals or midwives. Rather, they are birth professionals called doulas. Coming from the original Greek word “servant,” a doula works with pregnant women in a very unique way.
Modern doulas are women labor and delivery assistants. Through Alison Vodnoy doula practice, she personally conducts two prenatal visits with the woman, in which she shares knowledge of the pregnancy, options about the birthing process and the intervention of the medical staff that may occur at the hospital.
A majority of the women who have a doula during their pregnancy take the natural child birth route. With an ultra medical society that we live in today, it’s extremely important for women who want to have a natural birth to have support to uphold their birth vision.
After the 40 weeks have come and gone, Vodnoy is present for the birth as much as the woman and her partner want her to be. Before driving to the hospital, she’ll labor with the woman and keep her nerves calm. The doula needs to be in communication with the medical staff at the hospital, but not so much prior communication with the doctor before the birth. The doula will know the woman’s birth plan and it’s her job to uphold that plan. When the new life is brought into this world, Vodnoy will be present until the family feels they need privacy.
"The most important part of the doula is providing support during this time of intense transformation," Vodnoy says. "I provide support for the woman and her partner. We forget that men are giving birth too because they’re also going through a transformation — walking over the threshold and becoming a father."
She concludes her duties by conducting post natal visits — one three days and one week after the birth. Assisting the woman in breast feeding, checking in with how the woman’s body is feeling and giving her support in exercises that help the woman rebuild her body all take place during a post natal visit."It really helps for someone else to be there as in a sense of ground energy," Vodnoy says. Doulas are trained extensively in what is to be expected during birth, whereas most mothers don’t know what to expect — what is "normal" or not. What may feel foreign may just be a part of the "grand and divine opening" that a woman’s body needs to do during the birth.