We’re here for women’s healthcare needs—through pregnancy and beyond
By Emily Freehling
For Dr. Nikola Alex Letham, practicing obstetrics and gynecology is about empowering women to make informed decisions about their healthcare as they move through different stages of life.
When he saw the important role that a dedicated physician could play in this field, he was immediately drawn to it, despite going into medical school thinking he wanted to become a surgeon.
“For me, it was the continuity of care,” said Dr. Letham, who as of July was taking new patients as one of the newest physicians at Mary Washington Obstetrics and Gynecology. “You really build a relationship with the patient, and it’s a field of medicine that helps patients through all different phases with a variety of different tools.”
Dr. Letham is one of two new physicians that have recently joined Mary Washington Obstetrics and Gynecology. As of this month, Dr. Danielle Holmes is accepting new OB/GYN patients.
Building a better approach to women’s health
Dr. Letham moved to Fredericksburg with his wife, two young sons and two dogs in part because of the opportunity to be part of a practice that approaches women’s health holistically.
As part of the Mary Washington Healthcare family, Mary Washington Obstetrics and Gynecology is part of a comprehensive array of women’s healthcare services that address women’s needs at every stage in their life, from contraception, to fertility, pregnancy, cancer screenings, menopause and beyond.
As part of Fredericksburg’s leading healthcare network, Mary Washington Obstetrics and Gynecology offers patients access to the Family Birth Place at Mary Washington Hospital, the region’s only Level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and a strong partnership with Children’s National Hospital that brings world-class expertise to newborns in the region without having to leave the area. Mary Washington also offers specialized care to expectant mothers at the Mary Washington Maternal Fetal Medicine Practice, located in the same facility as the OBGYN practice.
“Being in this new practice where we are building an evolving whole-pregnancy approach, it’s an excellent environment to take care of women,” Dr. Letham said. “Doctors here have access to all of the best resources, and women can feel very assured that should there be a complication, we are prepared and can access the best possible care.”
At all stages, patients should feel empowered
Pregnancy is just one of many stages of a woman’s life that require a specialized approach to healthcare. But at any stage—whether it’s choosing a birth control method, talking through a birth plan or managing the impacts of menopause, Dr. Letham believes his job is to make sure patients have the best information to guide their care decisions.
“The most important thing is patients feeling informed,” he said. “When they leave an appointment, I want them to feel like they have learned something and feel empowered to make a decision.”
Informed decision-making can be particularly important during pregnancy. Dr. Letham encourages expecting parents to take a birthing class to get an idea of what to expect when they come to the hospital.
Many of the hospital’s parenting classes are currently being offered virtually, including Getting Ready for Childbirth, Childbirth Essentials, Going Home with Baby, Infant CPR and the free course, Breastfeeding Essentials. For more information about classes, search “Parenting Classes” at marywashingtonhealthcare.com or call Health Link at 540-741-1404 to register.
Taking classes and establishing good communication with your OB/GYN can provide a good framework to help expecting parents think through some of the decisions or preferences they can make.
“The two most important outcomes of every pregnancy are a healthy mom and a healthy baby,” he said. “We can make informed decisions in that framework to make sure everything else goes smoothly.”
Having an established relationship with a regular women’s healthcare provider is a way women can take charge of their health and their choices as they start their pregnancy journey.
“It’s important to build that relationship, because there may come a point in any pregnancy where something is not going perfectly,” Dr. Letham said. “A strong patient-physician relationship allows hard decisions to be made quickly, it allows that informed conversation to be had, and makes the patient comfortable asking questions.”
Good care is problem-solving
Dr. Letham enjoys keeping up to date on the growing array of solutions available to solve women’s healthcare problems. From medications, to in-office procedures, to minimally invasive surgeries, Mary Washington Healthcare’s physicians have access to state-of-the-art equipment and procedures, all provided in a comfortable local setting.
“We have a broad toolbox. We can evaluate each patient individually and then choose the right solution,” Dr. Letham said. “In all phases of life, our goal is to be the best resource in town for patients to find good women’s healthcare.”
To learn more, visit practices.mwhc.com
Stay tuned to the Fredericksburg Parent & Family Facebook page and YouTube channel for a video interview featuring Mary Washington Healthcare Obstetrics and Gynecology during the month of August.