Top Doctors Q&A: Michelle Fenoughty

Obstetrics & Gynecology • Chief medical officer, Hendricks Regional Health; OB/GYN, Westside Physicians for Women

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What changes have you seen in OB/GYN?
We’re seeing increased focus on wellness and preventative health. I deal with moms who focus a lot on keeping themselves healthy, because they have to keep their families healthy, too.

What are patients asking about these days?
More information on vitamin therapy, natural therapies, and things like bioidentical hormones. Ten years ago, they didn’t even ask those questions.

What do you think about alternative therapies, such as herbs?
I think there’s a significant placebo effect with a lot of them. Most of us physicians are scientists by nature, and we have a lot of faith in medications that have gone through rigorous studies. The people who believe in alternative therapies, their hearts are in the right place. They honestly believe them to be safer, and they want to tell the world. However, I think the majority of patients would be better served with a drug that has been FDA-approved.

Are women having kids later in life?
Absolutely. Sometimes because of career choice, and very often because of second marriages. My average patient is probably in her early 30s. When I started my practice, it would have been skewed to the lower 20s.

What’s the good news in your field?
I have personally seen a reduction in unplanned pregnancies in the younger generation. Also, we’re getting better at diagnosing pregnancy-related illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes, and monitoring those illnesses and keeping pregnant people pregnant longer. We don’t have to deliver those babies quite so soon. Less intervention, too. We went through a short period where women could opt for a cesarean section without labor, but patients are not as interested in that anymore. That’s a positive end.

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