New women’s health clinic opens in Cedar Falls

MercyOne+Cedar+Falls+OB%2FGYN+on+Bluebell+Road+offers+birth+control+counseling+along+with+pregnancy+services+available+throughout+the+entire+pregnancy.+

Tribune News Service

MercyOne Cedar Falls OB/GYN on Bluebell Road offers birth control counseling along with pregnancy services available throughout the entire pregnancy.

CAROLINE CHRISTENSEN, Staff Writer

CORRECTION

The Northern Iowan would like to clarify information from the article “New women’s health clinic opens in Cedar Falls” published Sept. 7. 

Birth control prescriptions from the new UnityPoint Clinic are only available for period pain management purposes and not contraceptive purposes. 

Additionally, the SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners) are available at either the Sartori or MercyOne Waterloo emergency departments, and also at Allen. It is an on-call service. They are not available at Bluebell as it is a clinic.

 

MercyOne clinic offers wide range of reproductive healthcare services from STI testing to sexual assault services for campus community

A new clinic, tailored towards reproductive healthcare, has officially opened its doors in Cedar Falls. Located at 226 Bluebell Road, MercyOne Cedar Falls OB/GYN aims to provide patient-centered compassionate care for all its patients. 

Katherine Parker Bryden, a midwife who specializes in obstetrics, gynecology, menstrual management and physiologic birth among other things hopes the clinic will be a safe space for patients who are seeking reproductive healthcare.

“I think one of the beauties of the nurse practitioners and the midwives we have is we are all trained in very patient-centered care, what I would call a feminist perspective,” Bryden said. “The person who is inside the body is the expert on it. By listening [the patient] will give you a lot of good information. We are all about being partners in people’s healthcare.”

The services offered at the Cedar Falls MercyOne Clinic include preventative reproductive care, general wellness check ups, STI testing, birth control management and pregnancy care.

Preventive Care

Although the prevention of cervical cancers and other infections is usually not a huge concern for college-age people, Bryden encourages everyone to err on the side of caution.

“For people in their teens and twenties, the main thing you would come in for is if you didn’t get your Gardasil vaccine for HPV prevention,” Bryden said. “Gardasil is important because it protects against the nine high risk strains of HPV that are most frequently seen in abnormal cell changes that can lead to cancer. Usually people can get that vaccine series if they haven’t already done so.”

Bryden continued, “Usually starting at age 21 you would come in if you got normal pap smears every three years.”

A pap smear is a method of cervical cancer screening which detects potentially precancerous and cancerous cells. 

STI Testing

Bryden assurres getting tested for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) is quick and easy.

“If you have weird discharge and you want to figure out if you have an STI or not, we can very easily do STI screenings even from urine samples,” Bryden said. 

“I think a lot of people don’t want a pelvic exam, and a pelvic exam certainly won’t hurt, but if you don’t want that you can have it done via urine.”

Same day appointments are also easily available at the Cedar Falls clinic since it is newly opened. 

“If you thought you had a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis and needed a swab, they’ll send in some antifungal or antibiotic for you. Those are usually quick in-and-out visits.”

Bryden notes the two most important factors for preventing STIs include knowing your partner(s) and if they have been screened for any STIs. The second method is using condoms.  

“I really think that good communication skills are one of your best friends when it comes to healthy sexual and reproductive health,” Bryden said. “I really want college students to know that having consent discussions and having relationships only with people who are going to respect your boundaries are your best ways to prevent yourself from all sorts of unwanted outcomes.”

Bryden added, “If someone is not being kind and respectful to you, kick them to the curb.”

Birth Control

Birth control counseling and prescriptions are also available at the clinic. Staff members can provide information on all the different birth control options from the pill, IUDs, rings and shots. 

Bryden notes,“Many of the birth control methods are also really good period control methods for women who are having really heavy periods and it is hindering their way of life. There are some birth control methods that really help with period pain management.”

Bryden also acknowledges Plan B is a good option to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. “Don’t forget about Plan B and emergency contraception. Plan B is available over the counter and Ella is available by prescription.”

Sexual Assault Services

The Cedar Falls clinic has Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) on staff who are trained to assist patients who have experienced assault.

“SANE nurses have been specially trained to work with people who have been assaulted. They can be with [the patient] in a really thoughtful and respectful way. They can also do evidence collection and are always on call and can come to an emergency if someone does experience an assault and needs aftercare.”

Pregnancy Services

One of the specialties the new clinic offers is assisting patients through pregnancies.

“Obviously we do work during the childbearing years so if you become pregnant we could see you for the entire pregnancy,” Bryden said. “We don’t do deliveries in Cedar Falls but we have a great labor and delivery unit in Waterloo.”

Bryden addressed the stereotypes surrounding midwifery and emphasizes midwives can assist everyone regardless if they are pregnant or not. 

“One of the things I would just emphasize about our practice is people think “midwives” and they think about a lady in a prairie dress and sandals going to someone’s house. We are all master-prepared nurse practitioners and take care of many people who are not pregnant.” 

Insurance and Scheduling Appointments

Preventative services are often covered by insurance, but cash pay is also accepted at the MercyOne Clinic. 

“It would be important for students to know what kind of health insurance they have and what kind of coverage it has,” Bryden said. “If they are not sure they can call and we can check people’s coverage for them.”

Bryden also acknowledges some students may not want their parents to see the medical services they are receiving. 

“Sometimes people also wonder if this information will go back to their mom or dad because they don’t necessarily want their dad to know they got an STI test. If they tell us they don’t want their parents to get the bill there is a way for us to shield it.”

To schedule an appointment call 319-272-8200. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. –  4:30 p.m. and Friday 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.