Since starting The North Shore Moms in 2019, I get a good amount of messages from moms-to-be asking for recommendations on where to seek prenatal care and/or deliver their babies on the North Shore. I’m not qualified in any professional capacity to answer that, so I simply share that I was a patient at Essex County OB/GYN when I had my son and I delivered him at Beverly Hospital. I had a positive experience with both.
When Essex County OB/GYN recently reached out to me wanting to spotlight a member of their team, I thought it was a great idea. I hope the information contained in this interview can help other moms! Keep reading to learn more about Gwen Olsen Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), Essex County OB/GYN and the different types of comprehensive care they offer moms-to-be at their office locations in Beverly, Gloucester and Danvers.
Where are you from originally and what town do you live in now?
I originally grew up outside of Los Angeles, but moved to Boston for college. After a decade of moving around, my husband and I decided Beverly was the perfect place for us to raise our family.
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
We have two daughters: Sarai, who is 6, and Miriam, who is 9 months.
What’s your favorite family activity on the North Shore?
We love going to the beach and picnicking in Lynch Park in the summer and sledding down the hill at Dane Street Beach in the winter. You can also find us up at Appleton Farms many weekends.
Where’s your favorite place to eat and/or shop on the North Shore?
Both of my daughters love guacamole and we think the best may come from La Victoria in Beverly. We’re also big ice cream fans and can’t decide whether the best ice cream comes from Melt in Salem, Cherry Farm Creamery in Danvers, or DownRiver in Essex. I guess we’ll just have to keep making the rounds!
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started as a midwife.
I’ve long known that I wanted to work supporting the health of women and families, but it took some time for me to find midwifery. A little over a decade ago I met a wonderful group of midwives at the hospital I was working at in Oregon. I quickly realized this was what I’d been waiting for: a medical career that empowered women through partnership and mutual respect. I’ve been working in the field ever since.
For those of us not as familiar with the roles of midwives can you share more about how midwives and doctors work together to provide patient care to moms-to-be?
At Essex County OB/GYN and Midwifery, pregnant people have the option to be seen by a team of midwives for their pregnancy care. These Certified Nurse Midwives are kind of like Nurse Practitioners with special training in the care of childbearing women. Our team also has special skills to support unmedicated birth, if that’s a person’s choice. Midwifery patients have all of the same testing and medication options available to them. If a complication evolves that requires a doctor’s input, the midwife team works closely with physicians to manage it.
Do you have any professional specialties?
Besides caring for pregnant families, I enjoy working with teenagers and perimenopausal women. When we understand what is happening in our bodies and why, it allows us to seek the help we need to live our best lives.
When did you join the team at Essex County OB/GYN?
What’s your favorite part about being a midwife?
The American healthcare system can be totally overwhelming and intimidating. I love helping someone feel confident in their ability to choose what’s right for their body and their family. It’s truly a privilege to get to work with families at this tender and transformative time in their lives.
What are some of the biggest differences between working with a midwife during pregnancy and delivery and working with a doctor?
Midwives are experts in normal birth and see birth as a normal part of life. We strive to create an open relationship with our patients that allows them to ask any question and voice any concern. In turn, we hope to offer our knowledge to inform women about their health and bodies. By taking our time and seeking to understand, we can focus on what is best for each person’s situation and values.
At Essex County OB/GYN and Midwifery, our group of midwives offer longer appointment times and spend more time with patients in labor to meet the above goals. That means if you want an unmedicated birth, great! More of an epidural gal, no problem! Not sure about the flu shot, let’s talk about it! We want to help you make the best choices for yourself.
Our team of doctors are great as well. They are always there to support women who prefer a doctor or who need a higher level of care (like a cesarean birth). It’s all about finding the right fit for each a person.
Any tips for balancing work & motherhood?
Finding a balance is always so hard and you can’t be everything to everyone. Practice saying no to the things that don’t really matter so you can save your energy and presence for those that do.
What is the best piece of mom advice you ever received?
“You’re doing great!” I know it’s not advice, but it’s something we don’t hear enough as moms. Whenever you’re struggling with mom guilt remember it’s because you love your family so much that you want to be perfect for them. And you are!
What’s your favorite thing to do when you need some “me” time?
I’m all about massages with Joanne Sheridan at Inner Source Wellness. She’s such a warm presence and they are a total recharge.
This post is sponsored by Essex County OB/GYN but the opinions present are my own.