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Your Voice is What Matters Most When Looking for GYN and Pregnancy Care

A conversation with Kamil El, CNM, DNP, Midwife—Virtua Midwifery

You have lots of options when it comes to choosing a provider for your gynecologic and pregnancy care needs. You may have basic criteria that play into your decision, like a practice close to your home, convenient hours, or preference for the gender of your provider.

However, who you choose can—and should—be someone who’s also ready to get to know you personally, so you feel comfortable sharing very personal details about your body, your life, and your goals. When considering your choices, here are some reasons to consider choosing a midwife for your care. 

Midwives have been assisting women in childbirth for hundreds of years. While the practice has evolved over time because of formal training and certification, the basic tenet has remained the same: midwife means “with women.” When you choose a midwife for your care, you’re choosing someone who’s truly an equal partner in your care. 

So, what does that look like in practice? It starts with a conversation. 

We get to know you by asking questions about you, like:

  • What are your joys and challenges?
  • Who makes up your family?
  • Do you have any cultural or religious beliefs or traditions you want to share that may help us provide you better care?
  • What are your goals in life – for you, your health, your family?
  • What scares or worries you?
  • Do you have a preferred nickname?
  • What makes you smile?

You’ll share in every decision that’s made about your care, and the answers to these questions help guide us to provide the most personalized approach. 

After we get to know each other, we want to know what YOU know about your body. We want to understand what’s going on with your body, your mind, and your spirit because they contribute to your overall health and wellness. We encourage you to jot your questions or concerns in a notebook and bring it with you to your appointment. 

These are some of the things we want to know about—and they’re important even if you feel slightly shy or embarrassed talking about them:

  • Are you experiencing anything unusual for you, such as:
    • Vaginal discharge
    • Breast pain or changes
    • Heavy bleeding
    • Pelvic pain
    • Incontinence (sometimes peeing a little when you cough or sneeze, or feeling like you have to go all the time)
    • Menopause symptoms like hot flashes, weight gain, brain fog, or vaginal dryness?
  • Do you want to share if you’ve experienced a trauma that could impact your care?
  • Do you feel anxious or depressed? Do you want to discuss causes?
  • How’s your sex life? Is it pleasurable, painful, satisfying, or non-existent? 

We may not yet know the cause of your issues, but we take them seriously and will work with you to find solutions. 

If you’re pregnant or planning for pregnancy, we partner with you to help you uncover your power and strength to have a physiologic birth in our birth center. We help you personalize your birth experience—supporting you in trusting your body and your baby’s abilities to carry you both through labor and birth, assisting you with breathing and relaxation techniques, and exploring labor and birth positions and water birth. 

On your “birth-day,” we help you align your body and mind as you prepare for the birth of your child, using natural techniques to promote effective labor. After birth, we help you bond with your newborn through skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding support. And, as you leave to start your life as a new family, we celebrate you—for believing in yourself that you could have a baby naturally, using the power and strength of your body and mind. And, we thank you, for trusting us to help you uncover that power. 

Get to Know Midwife Kamil El, CNM, DNP

Kamil El, CNM, DNP, is a midwife with home birth experience, including her own home birth. She also has multiple master's degrees in education, having worked as a teacher for 12 years. As a woman of color, Kamil is experienced in serving historically underserved populations. She is committed to educating and supporting adolescent, adult, and older adult women to meet their specific functional, developmental, and cultural needs. 

Updated March 31, 2021

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