This is part of our series, "Meet the Experts". In this series of posts, we interview a wide variety of men and women involved in every aspect of the field of maternal health. Today, we welcome Katie Page, CNM.
1. Introduce yourself! Who are you, and what do you do in the field of maternal health?
I am Katie Page and I am a Certified Nurse-Midwife serving women and families in Lynchburg and the surrounding communities. I provide care for women across the lifespan – from puberty and beyond menopause, including care during the childbearing years. My 6 CNM partners and I see women for gynecology, well woman, and pregnancy/postpartum care.
2. How would you describe your personal experience with motherhood (whether you’re a mother or not)?
Even prior to my own journey with child-raising, I loved caring for people. In high school in Texas I volunteered with community organizations that would provide dinner and visits to families at the Ronald McDonald House, I would visit residents in senior living facilities, and was a youth volleyball coach. I am now a mother to an energetic 4-yr old. I love observing the wonder and the discovery of my daughter’s interaction with the world. She is lively and ever-questioning – she teaches me a lot and challenges my communication and teaching skills!
3. How did you get involved in your current field?
When I was called into midwifery, I researched midwifery schools and pathways. I chose Nurse-Midwifery because it allowed me to be educated and trained in the profession I loved while affording me the ability to practice in every state and in every birth setting – home, birthing center, hospital. My undergraduate degree at Randolph College (then Randolph-Macon Woman’s College) allowed me to complete my bachelor’s degree and receive a Master’s in Nursing from Vanderbilt with specialty in Nurse-Midwifery together in 5 years. I met the midwives in my current practice when I was an undergraduate and was able to intern with them. I went to midwifery school in Nashville and returned to complete my studies and clinical training here. After 3 years practicing in Pennsylvania, I was invited in 2013 to rejoin the practice that helped train me. I am thrilled to be here again!
4. Why did you choose to work in your field?
I have always been fascinated with birth and with caring for others. I knew I would be a care provider. Initially I thought I would be an OBGYN but in high school, through job shadowing, I learned that I wanted to be able to work more closely and directly with women – particularly during their birth experience. I thought I would be a nurse but my step-mother introduced me to midwifery. As I read about and researched the midwifery model of care, I knew this was the way I wanted to be “with women”. I choose to provide midwifery care where birth occurs in the hospital to provide woman-centered, quality care in a setting where individual women and families may be forgotten in the routine. Women are the central decision makers. My job is to provide education and information and care that will support the work of the body with as little intervention as possible. Individualized low-tech, high touch birth can occur in the hospital.
5. In the vast field of maternal health, which area are you most passionate about, personally?
I love teaching and working with women so that they can make informed choices about the care they receive. Currently, I am most interested in educating and empowering women about the work of the body during pregnancy and birth and how to utilize non-pharmacologic tools to help with coping during labor. In doing this, I am also working to improve the care we provide in the hospital to serve low-risk, healthy women to have high touch, low-tech experiences that are safe and healthy. Care providers in the hospital need to understand the evidence for and against some of the ways we care for women during labor and birth and work diligently to update our practice as new knowledge is learned (and old knowledge is reaffirmed!). Women need to equally understand the evidence base behind that care and be able to ask questions and enter in to discussions about how those services may be beneficial to them or their baby’s health.
6. What do you see as an area of maternal health that needs more awareness, support and/or education?
There is a significant increase in public education about communication between providers and women which is creating a shift in how we care for women nationally. There is currently a great deal of anger in the conversation – much of which is understandable. I hope that all birth workers, advocates, and consumers will continue to work towards a goal of mutual respect and understanding. Our relationships with our clients are best when there is mutual trust, where we as providers can share our expertise and our knowledge with women to care for them in their individual experience, and we move together to modify care plans, if needed.
7. If there were only one thing that you could share with the women we work with, what would it be?
Find a care provider whom you trust – this means that you feel comfortable asking questions and you can enter into dialogue with your provider if there is miscommunication or differences of opinion.
8. If a woman that we serve has additional questions or would like more information, how could they go about contacting you?
Women can call the office, 434-385-8948, and leave me a message or schedule an appointment. I am also available by email Katie.Page@centrahealth.com.