Once health and safety have been ensured, first and foremost on Teri Gjerseth’s mind is giving women a choice in their prenatal care. A Certified Nurse Midwife, Teri is a graduate from Frontier Nursing University in Kentucky. She began practice at Oakleaf Clinics in mid-October.
Gjerseth’s practice is centered on the “Normalcy of Birth,” a philosophy of care under which women with normal, healthy pregnancies are given the knowledge they need to navigate their pregnancies as they choose.
“Childbirth is a normal function of day-to-day life just like eating, sleeping, breathing, going to the bathroom, having sex – it’s all part of your normal physiological body process,” Teri said. While modern hospital births often proceduralize pregnancy and birth, as a midwife Teri prefers to use medical interventions such as epidurals, IV drips, induction and fetal monitoring only when medically necessary as part of a shared decision-making process, or as requested by the woman as part of her birth plan.
“Wisconsin has a fairly strong midwifery presence and has for about 35 years,” Teri said. “Midwifery has really been promoted here, and I think that primarily that’s driven by the women.” By her measure, Oakleaf’s expansion into midwifery is a response to the desires of Chippewa Valley Women to have more control and more comfort in their healthy pregnancies.
Teri will offer care for women from adolescence through menopause, including pregnancy care and in-hospital birth, although she has extensive experience with out-of-hospital and home births. She will also provide postpartum care and nursing support, helping women navigate the many choices that present themselves in the first few days of infancy.
“I enjoy providing families with the tools and education they need to make an informed choice about their healthcare and birth plans,” Teri said. “Birth is a very personal event, and I am honored women choose to share it with me.”
Choose the care that’s right for you
Some advice from Teri Gjerseth about choosing pregnancy care:
• Find someone you feel comfortable with. You’ll want to enjoy making conversation with your provider – it will make discussing care easier.
• Ask about your practitioner’s philosophy of care. This will give you an idea of how much medical intervention your doctor or midwife is comfortable providing. It’s OK to talk to several caregivers and find the person who’s right for you.
• Decide what’s right for you. Some women prefer a more managed approach to pregnancy and childbirth, while others like more control and choice. Both approaches are acceptable, as long as it’s what YOU want.
Oakleaf Clinics – OB/GYN, located at 3213 Stein Blvd. offers midwifery and typical in-hospital birth services. For more information, visit oakleafclinics.com