Midwives Extending Their Reach: July 7, 2014

It’s a medical specialty with a long history of helping women.
In many countries, for many years, people have called the midwife.

“I am trained to take care of women and their family planning and their normal Ob/Gyn needs, from puberty until about perimenopause,” says Tammy Leuttich. She is certified nurse midwife with Lee Memorial Health System.

While many suburban women are rediscovering midwives because of the educational, emotional and individualized care they are known for, Leuttich works within the underserved communities of east Fort Myers and LaBelle.

“We take care of a lot of patients with limited resources. A lot of our patients live within, I think, it’s about a five to eight mile radius. It’s a largely Hispanic neighborhood.”

The care model is to meet people in their comfort zone. Putting medical resources in the neighborhood with people who are sensitive to their culture. In the absence of financial resources and access to care, many women simply go without.

“They can have serious complications whereas if they had just been getting some prenatal care along the way, a lot of times we can intervene and prevent that,” says Leuttich.

Combining treatment with dignity is allowing midwives to deliver quality care.

“One of the best parts of my job is giving care to somebody who otherwise wouldn’t have gotten it or would have not been treated in the same manner that they were treated by us.”