Gynecological Care

Annual Exams  

Routine yearly check ups are provided by the nurse midwife at the Squirrel Hill office. Certain women with complex medical histories may need additional follow up with other practitioners such as internists, gynecologists, surgeons, or urologists. Women are not obliged to see any particular practitioner but may self refer or take advantage of our data base of specialists.

For most women, of course, their yearly exam is a fairly routine necessity. Nurse midwives view this appointment as an important opportunity discuss any of a wide number of issues. It is an appropriate time to discuss medications, diet, sexual relationships,  life stress, family planning, physical symptoms, depression, family and personal health risk factors and their management, to name a few.

While nurse midwives may not have solutions to every issue, we would like to help you locate appropriate resources. Therefore most of your visit will probably be spent talking. An hour is often set aside to address client concerns and gather information before the physical exam. Not everyone needs or wants this level of attention, and we try to tailor care to your needs.

There are a few guiding principles which we hope are evident to all clients:

  • Our care is woman & client centered: nothing is done or discussed without permission and explanation.
  • Our care is thorough, with ample time and attention devoted to the needs of the entire person.
  • Our care is medically sound and conforms (at minimum) to commonly accepted standards of care.
  • Our care is physically & psychologically gentle, with special sensitivity to issues of previous medical or other trauma.

Pap Smears

Generally part of a thorough annual physical exam, pap smears are an essential yearly screen for cancer of the cervix. Unlike many other cancers, cervical cancer is relativerly common among young women. It is also one of the most easily cured cancers, usually leaving fertility intact. Pap smears, even for higher risk women, can be done at the Squirrel Hill office.

Advanced diagnostics and treatments such as coloposcopy and LEEP procedures are available through our affiliated physicians at their offices.

Birth Control

All methods of birth control are available through Women's Health Options Network. Educational materials and contraceptive counseling is offered as part of the annual exam or on an "as needed" basis. Samples of most oral contraceptives ("the pill") are usually available to uninsured or underinsured clients.

We are one of only a few sites in Pittsburgh which fits and sells cervical caps, which are a barrier method similar to diaphragms, but more convenient for some women. Counseling and supplies are available for natural or cooperative family planning ("rhythm method"). This technique of fertility awareness is also useful when attempting pregnancy or diagnosing certain problems.

In addition, emergency contraception or "morning "after pills, depo provera ("the shot"), and IUD's are available through the midwife in the Squirrel Hill office. Norplant is placed and removed by our affiliated physicians at their offices.

Health Counseling

Nurse midwives are often considered by insurance providers to be specialists. In many ways our specialty is "healthy women" before, during, and after pregnancy. If your area of concern is beyond the scope of midwifery practice or requires the expertise of a specific provider, we want to connect you with someone appropriate to your needs.

We will assess your risk factors for specific health problems and recommend programs of screening and prevention. We work with other providers to coordinate ordering and interpreting tests as needed.

Evaluation & Treatment of Problems

Common difficulties can often be managed directly by the midwife in Regent Square. The office is equipped with a microscope, lab supplies and other basic diagnostic equipment for the evaluation of pain, discharge, yeast and bacterial and other infections. Bleeding problems, breast concerns, PMS and other difficulties can usually be assessed and often treated without referral to a physician. Common tests such as ultrasounds, bloodwork, cultures, mammograms, etc, can be ordered directly by the midwife. Prescriptions for antibiotics, antifungals, contraceptives and hormones are also available directly.

STD Testing & Treatment

Offered routinely during annual exams, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases is also available on request. Counseling regarding transmission, risk factors, protection of self and loved ones, and community supports for chronic problems such as herpes are all available as needed. All care is strictly confidential. Inexpensive or free testing is available to income qualified women through our affiliation with Adagio Health.

Menopause Care: Hormonal & Alternative Treatments

Most people would not think menopause and midwives belong in the same sentence. But the patient and caring approach of nurse midwives makes us especially well suited to helping women sort through the maze of issues and decisions often confronted around menopause.

Women's Health Options Network offers assessments, counseling, and therapies individualized to your specific needs and concerns. We have no predetermined agenda, and our starting point is listening to you.

We offer hormone replacement therapies (HRT), lifestyle evaluation and counseling. We refer for offsite bone density and lipid testing, mammograms and other screening and diagnostic evaluations as needed.

Abnormal bleeding, vaginal dryness and irritation, loss of sex drive, hot flushes and mood swings are other issues commonly evaluated and treated by the nurse midwife.

Adagio Health Partnership

Inexpensive or free testing is available to income qualified women through our affiliation with Adagio Health.

Founded in 1971, Adagio Health — formerly Family Health Council, Inc. — operates medical offices and partners with more than 20 other health care services to provide health care at more than 70 sites in 23 counties of western Pennsylvania. Women' s Health Options Network is one of Adagio Health's smallest partner agencies.

Adagio Health addresses a wide variety of health concerns, including gynecology, breast and cervical cancer screening, STD testing and treatment, nutrition counseling, adoption services, teen pregnancy prevention, HIV prevention, sexuality education for teens, community education, parent education, professional training, and research.

Adagio Health serves more than 100,000 women and their families each year. Funding comes from federal and state grants, patient fees, and foundation, corporate, and individual contributions.

Adagio Health provides health care services without discrimination on the basis of race, disability, sexual orientation, financial ability, religion, age, sex, or marital status.

Holistic Care for Women of all Ages.

Patrick D. Thornton, CNM, MSN Certified Nurse Midwife

1900 Murray Avenue
Suite 303
Pittsburgh, PA 15217

In Squirrel Hill

Directions to the Office

Hours by Appointment 412-421-8222