Live your healthiest life with St. Luke’s comprehensive women’s health services

From puberty onward, women are on a journey of constant change in emotional as well as physical well-being. That’s why choosing the right physician-partner may be the most important healthcare decision a woman ever makes.

St. Luke’s Premier Women’s Health and St. Luke’s Rivercrest OB/GYN, both members of WellCare Physicians Group, partner with you through all seasons of life. From your first gynecologic visit, through your childbearing years, into menopause, and beyond, they care not just for your body, but for your family, career, hopes, and dreams.

When to schedule your daughter’s first gynecologist appointment

Taking your daughter to her first gynecologist appointment between the ages of 12-15 is one of the best gifts a parent or guardian can give a young woman. An early visit establishes your daughter’s responsibility to manage her own health, teaching her to trust her caregiver with her most intimate life questions.

“It is extremely beneficial to come see a doctor during the age when they’re going through a lot of changes, when they have a lot of questions, mostly for reassurance,” said Dr. Nitisha Mutgi of Rivercrest OB/GYN. “I keep in mind that I have a daughter of my own and I try to think of my patient in light of that.”

The first visit starts with a very good history and a conversation about everything from their medical problems to what’s happening with their periods and their lives at home and school. Young women may also be provided with education on a number of topics, including self-care and smart decision-making.

Why you might want to consider a midwife

At St. Luke’s, you can choose to have a midwife instead of an OB for prenatal care and to deliver your baby.

Our certified nurse midwives are registered nurses who have also completed a multi-year master’s degree program specializing in midwifery. They are certified to prescribe medications, care for you throughout your pregnancy, deliver your baby in a hospital, and provide post-partum care. In-hospital deliveries by midwives are usually covered by insurance.

Midwives play an active role in your pregnancy and delivery. For example, your midwife may remain in your room throughout your labor regardless of shift changes, ensuring  that your health needs are communicated, providing pain relief, suggesting positioning changes, and ultimately delivering your baby.

A common misconception is that all midwives insist on a drug-free, home birth. In reality, St. Luke’s midwives follow the plan of care you draw up together. In addition, St. Luke’s midwives provide care for normal pregnancies. If at any time your pregnancy requires special care, your case will be transferred to an expert obstetrician.

How to manage the stages of menopause

Menopause is a natural part of aging, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find help for your symptoms. Managing your health at this stage of life is more important than ever.

St. Luke’s will help you consider both natural and medicinal steps you can take to aid with issues ranging from hot flashes, to night sweats, decreased sex drive, headaches, emotional upset, insomnia, and more:

  • Natural remedies begin with a nutritious diet and regular exercise. Limiting alcohol, caffeine and stress may also help
  • Depending on where you are in the journey, prescription medications may include low dose birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants and others

Remember, every woman is unique, so be sure to share all your symptoms and concerns with your doctor.

Despite the fact that there is no cure for menopause, it does come at a time in life when women are more likely to have other serious medical problems, such as cancer or osteoporosis. Be sure to keep up with all regular preventive tests.

Build a relationship with an expert in you

As experts in women’s health, the OB/GYNs at St. Luke’s are also experts in you. For an appointment, go to Rivercrest OB/GYN or St. Luke’s Premier Women’s Health.

St. Luke’s earns honors for helping moms and newborns embrace breastfeeding

The national trend toward increased breastfeeding has led to a major change in the lives of US infants over the past quarter-century. According to the CDC, the percentage of children who were ever breastfed increased from around 50% in 1990 to over 81% in 2016.

Those rates continue to rise, in part due to initiatives like “First Steps for Healthy Babies,” led by the Ohio Hospital Association and the Ohio Department of Health.

Recently, those organizations named St. Luke’s Hospital — and its Family Birthing Center — as a “5-star Maternity Center.” St. Luke’s is the only hospital in the area to receive this honor.

“This has been an important initiative at St. Luke’s,” said Sharon Bryson, BSN, RNC, manager of the Family Birthing Center. “Breastfeeding has many proven health benefits, and we promote it as part of our mission to improve the health of our patients.”

The “First Steps for Healthy Babies” awards one star for the completion of every two steps in the “Ten Steps for Successful Breastfeeding,” which is adopted from the World Health Organization and Baby-Friendly USA. To earn five stars, St. Luke’s implemented each of the steps below:

  1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
  6. Give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.
  7. Practice rooming in: allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
  9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.

“First Steps for Healthy Babies” supports Ohio’s Healthy People 2020 goals and aligns with Ohio’s Plan to Prevent and Reduce Chronic Disease: 2014-2018. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants are breastfed exclusively for about the first 6 months of life and that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire.

“Our Family Birthing Center turned 20 last year,” said Dan Wakeman, the President and CEO of St. Luke’s Hospital. “This recognition tells families that we provide the highest quality of care and continually strive for the best health outcomes.”

Classes for new moms and dads are available at the Family Birthing Center. You’ll find more information on our website.

Thanks to St. Luke’s, northwest Ohio will benefit from more family doctors

Nothing matches the personal care you receive from your own family doctor. Thanks to the new St. Luke’s Family Medicine Residency program, within a few years Northwest Ohio will have more family doctors than ever before.

The program pairs accomplished board-certified physicians with outstanding medical school graduates to prepare them for a career in family medicine. This gives future family doctors a foundation of excellence that combines leading edge treatments with time-tested principles.

“St. Luke’s believes in investing in the health of the region,” said St. Luke’s Hospital president Dan Wakeman.  It’s an idea that has roots way back in 1906, when surgeon William Gillette and his wife took the initiative to buy a small house at Robinwood and Delaware avenues in the Old West End. That became Robinwood Hospital, the original St. Luke’s.

“We’re continuing that community leadership by taking responsibility for providing the area with ongoing family care,” Wakeman said. He added that the community will feel an immediate impact, because new patients are already being accepted.

What’s more, family practice residents have historically remained in Toledo after graduation, providing a much-needed, long-term source of new physicians for the area. Each year of the program will graduate more doctors,

Residents are perfectly matched to St. Luke’s

Residents are chosen through the National Residency Matching Program, which uses a variety of criteria to pair the skills and aspirations of medical school graduates with the needs and requirements of residency programs. This year, six residents have been matched to St. Luke’s, hailing from places as far away as the Caribbean, and as close by as the University of Toledo (UT).

Calling the new Residents class “superb”, Program Director Louito C. Edje, MD, MHPE, FAAFP noted that the matched residents were each ranked in the Top 10 by the Resident Selection Committee.  “All six medical students have a strong commitment to the core values of family medicine,” she said.

Toledo is their home

Dr. Zack Dooley, a graduate of both Sylvania Schools and the University of Toledo, chose residency at St. Luke’s because he was looking for a supportive, family-oriented program. He and his wife, who is a nurse, have extended family in the area and hope to make Northwest Ohio a lifelong home for them and their daughter. Passionate about global health, Dr. Dooley would eventually like to bring wilderness medicine to St. Luke’s, developing and leading a residency focused on medical care in harsh circumstances, where supplies and technology are limited or not available at all.

Resident Dr. Peter Nguyen, another graduate of UT, believes the community setting of St. Luke’s Hospital will give him the best training possible for a family physician. He and his fiancée, also a family physician, want to make an impact in the community.

“In general, there is a shortage of family physicians. This is especially true for Northwest Ohio,” Dr. Nguyen said. “As a second-generation Vietnamese-American, born in the U.S. to parents who fled Vietnam after the war, it’s been my life duty to give back to my community.”

“No urgent care could ever hope to match the level of understanding you get with a personal doctor,” Wakeman said. “At a time when both care and insurance requirements are more complicated than ever, this is an excellent opportunity to get a regular doctor and take advantage of everything they have to offer you and your family.”

Dr. Edje agreed. “Patients who have family physicians have better health outcomes. A family Medicine Residency invests in producing excellent family physicians.”

High-tech resources, patient-centered care

The residents will have access to all the resources within the high-quality St. Luke’s community, while also seeing patients at the brand new St. Luke’s Family Medicine Center located just off N. Dixie Highway/State Route 25. Opening July 1, the center is equipped with the latest technology and offers everything on one floor, as well as abundant, free parking.

Need a doctor? The Family Medicine Center is now taking new patients. Call 419.873.6836 or go to StLukesHospital.com/FamilyMedicine for more information.

New microsurgery techniques at St. Luke’s improve feeling and appearance of reconstructions

Dr. Peter Koltz has returned home. For him, that means returning not only to his hometown, but also to St. Luke’s Hospital, where he started his healthcare career as a nurse’s aide years ago.

He’s brought with him over a decade of medical training, which includes the ability to perform cutting-edge, big-city plastic and reconstructive surgical techniques that were previously not available in this area.

Koltz spent an extra year at the world-renowned University of Pennsylvania to train in microvascular surgery options that allow lives to be restored in the most natural way possible. These advanced reconstructive procedures benefit patients with breast cancer, devastating extremity trauma or cancers, challenging head and neck problems, and a variety of pediatric conditions.

One microsurgery technique—antilogous breast reconstruction—reconstructs the breast using tissue from another part of the body. When nerve endings and blood vessels are reconnected, the patient begins to regain feeling in the area, promoting a sense of wholeness and wellbeing. Patients also experience less pain and shorter recovery times after surgery. Beyond that, the technique minimizes complications at the site where the tissue originated.

As of March 2017, there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the US. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment.

While breast reconstruction is the most common use of reconstructive microsurgery, Dr. Koltz says that the techniques offer head-to-toe procedures that take tissue from one area of the body and transfer it to another.

“The key is to be able to offer patients the best surgical option for them,” Dr. Koltz said. “My goal for every patient I see is to provide them a reconstruction that will allow them to return to the things that they like to do as quickly as possible with the best aesthetic result. Whether performing DIEP flap breast reconstruction, implant breast reconstruction, extremity salvage, or reconstructing the head and neck following cancer or trauma, my goal is to individualize the reconstruction to every patient.”

Dr. Koltz is able to do this by offering a full breadth of options for reconstruction, ranging from common techniques to leading edge procedures.

“The beauty of Cosmetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery as a surgical subspecialty is the ability to tailor every patient’s plan to their specific situation and return them to what they love to do. It is important to me to be able to offer all options safely and efficiently to accomplish this goal,” Dr. Koltz said.

See a video of Dr. Koltz talking about today’s options in microsurgery and learn more about the personalized care and attention at St. Luke’s here.

Care, Plus More

Please join us in recognizing these associates for character, compassion and courtesy.

Shawn Powell, RN


“Shawn has a great way of tackling any situation that comes his way. He will do whatever he can to make sure patients are comfortable and safe, whether that’s education prior to discharge, or extra care for a patient in distress.”
Kelly Foster, RN


“When I had hip surgery, Kelly helped me manage my pain. She changed my sheets, put a clean gown on me, said she would be back to check on me—and she did! Kelly is the most compassionate and caring nurse I have ever had.”