Choosing an OB/GYN is a very personal matter, because you want to find someone who is experienced that you can trust with your care. IU Health West Hospital, located in Avon, has a team of highly skilled, experienced doctors who care for women of all ages, from puberty to menopause and beyond. We recently connected with Dr. Jessica Healey with IU Health West’s Obstetrics & Gynecology department, and she answered our questions on choosing an OB/GYN.
How often do you need to be seen by your OB/GYN to be considered an established or active patient?
Dr. Healey says it is recommended that you see your OB/GYN at least once per year. It’s important to schedule your annual wellness check, however, you’re still an active patient if you’ve been seen by your doctor in the past three years.
Would my doctor be at all my appointments?
Unless they are called to an unexpected emergency, your doctor will be at all of your scheduled appointments, says Dr. Healey. Being called to an emergency is a rare occurrence, so you should expect to see your doctor at each appointment.
How does the practice handle if my doctor can’t be there when I deliver?
“IU Health West is very fortunate to have an amazing laborist program,” says Dr. Healey. “This means that there is a board-certified OB/GYN called a laborist in the hospital 24/7 who is there for deliveries in the rare case that your physician is not onsite.” The physicians in their office share patients during their pregnancies, so that they are able to get to know you well before you deliver. Having multiple obstetricians greatly increases the chances that your personal doctor can be present for your delivery.
In the event that you deliver quickly in the middle of the night or on the weekend when either doctor is not in the hospital, there is still an OB/GYN physician there in the hospital ready to care for you. “Occasionally two of our patients may deliver at the same time, as you can imagine, so it’s wonderful to have these physicians available to support our patients,” Dr. Healey says.
Do you have experience with complicated labor and delivery and experience with advanced maternal age? Do you have experience with c-sections?
Yes, Dr. Healey and her team have taken care of many mothers with complications during their pregnancy and with their deliveries. “Each patient is unique, and I am careful to listen to concerns from my patients and to care for any preexisting and new conditions that may develop during pregnancy or delivery,” says Dr. Healey. “Having a baby is beautiful, but can also come with challenges that require unique skills in order to keep both the mother and the baby healthy. I completed my OB/GYN training with the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, and I feel very fortunate to be well-prepared for the many unexpected complications that can arise in a pregnancy.”
Along with pregnancy and delivery complications, Dr. Healey has performed hundreds of cesarean deliveries through both her training and career. She encourages her patients and works hard to achieve a vaginal delivery when it is safe for her patient and their babies, but she is always prepared to deliver babies as safely as possible, whether by a vaginal delivery, a cesarean delivery, or even an operative delivery such as vacuum-assisted. Dr. Healey says, “you have to have a lot of tools in your tool belt as an OB/GYN, because plans can always change quickly on Labor and Delivery!”
What are your views on mental health? What are your go-to recommendations for this?
“I’m so glad you asked about mental health. It is not talked about nearly enough,” says Dr. Healey. “Mental health affects a woman’s overall health and daily life. Our mental wellbeing is just as important as our physical health. I try to check in with each of my patients, and am always more than happy to work on a treatment plan if my patient isn’t where she’d like to be from a mental health standpoint.” She continues by saying that sometimes this includes counseling or medication, and other times it is just prioritizing life events and working on her patient’s support system. “Each patient is unique in her experiences and goals, so I work to get to know my patient and we work together to come up with the best plan for her.”
What is your experience and comfort level with conditions that can affect fertility such as thyroid disease and PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)?
Dr. Healey explains that fertility is considered normal when a man and a woman don’t have any known underlying conditions and are able to conceive spontaneously within one year. Many couples take 6-12 months to conceive, which a lot of people don’t realize. “There are certainly instances when a fertility workup should begin sooner, especially in older couples,” says Dr. Healey. “But we will typically start the basic workup after a year. Thyroid disease and PCOS evaluation are some of the basics of a fertility workup, which I will typically start in my office.” She feels comfortable treating these conditions. It is often more affordable to start the initial workup and treatment in your OB/GYN’s office, but if basic evaluation and management are not successful then it is best to see a fertility specialist.
Does your office offer virtual visits?
Most patients visits are done in-person, but their office does facilitate virtual visits for some appointments.
Is it possible to see a labor and delivery room before delivery?
Yes! You can even see a labor and delivery room from your own home. Click here for a virtual tour of an IU Health West’s labor and delivery room. If you would like a personalized tour at the hospital, call 317.217.3600 or visit iuhealth.org/childbirth and click on IU Health West Hospital.
What can I do to help prepare for delivery?
Dr. Healey highly suggests utilizing IU Health’s childbirth education and support groups to prepare for your delivery and taking baby home. There is a wide range of class options for you – including but not limited to newborn basics, CPR, car seat safety, prenatal yoga, and even big brother/big sister classes.
Important note from Dr. Healey: In light of recent changes to Indiana law, physicians are still working to understand terms of the new law and how to incorporate the changes in to our medical practice. I have assured my patients with healthy and high-risk pregnancies that I will continue providing them with the best and safest care, with excellence and compassion.
About Jessica Healey, MD, Obstetrics & Gynecology
Dr. Jessica Healey is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist at IU Health West Hospital in Avon, IN. She sees a full-spectrum of general OB/GYN patients, from teen girls to the reproductive years, through menopause and beyond. She enjoys the mix of pregnancy care and deliveries, as well as office gynecology and surgical procedures, including hysterectomies. She sees patients in the office for abnormal bleeding, menopause concerns, pelvic pain, sexual health concerns, fertility, losses, and many other conditions. Dr. Healey earned her medical degree from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and completed her residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology with the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, IN. Her favorite part of her job is building relationships with her patients, and having the privilege to care for women in many of the most vulnerable times in their lives. Beyond work, Dr. Healey is married and has three children and a goldendoodle who keeps her busy! She loves spending time with family and friends, attending outdoor concerts, trying new cuisines, exploring the outdoors, and dabbling in DIY projects.
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