Every month, Southern Crescent Women’s Healthcare features one of our team members on our blog. Meet SCWH Midwife Karen Woods, MS, CNM!

Karen Woods is from Chicago, Illinois. Her parents are first generation Jamaican immigrants. Her path towards nursing began when she was 5th grade when she experienced the amazing opportunity of shadowing a registered nurse. After that, she knew what she wanted to do.

Karen received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) from Marquette University, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Upon graduation, was selected to care for patients at the world renowned Mayo Medical Center (Mayo Clinic) in Rochester, Minnesota, where she spent the first 11 years of her nursing career. The last 7 of those years were spent working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Working in this specialized area of critical care nursing, Karen found herself fascinated with the dynamics and physiological responses of a woman and her unborn child.

This interest led her to pursue education enabling her to provide care to women and infants prior to their delivery as a certified nurse-midwife (CNM), born from the desire to impact pregnancies and prevent NICU admissions whenever possible. As a result, Karen obtained an advanced nursing degree in midwifery, receiving her Master of Science (MS) from the University of Minnesota in 2006, successfully passing her national midwifery boards the same year. Shortly after presenting her thesis entitled, Antenatal Interventions to Prevent Postpartum Depression, Karen followed her heart (and the beautiful weather) to Georgia.

Karen is a mother to 2-year-old daughter Addison and son Eric, who is at the United States Military Academy Preparatory School-West Point. Getting pregnant wasn’t easy, but her husband’s motto: “If you are going to pray about it, then don’t worry about it. If you are going to worry about it, then don’t pray about it”, which he says often, is what got them through the fertility experience…and many things in life! She loves being a mother and finds that having experienced pregnancy, birth and motherhood has given her midwifery career a whole new level for reliability with her patients. After a decade in the field of midwifery, she says “I love midwifery, I love the mix of patients we see!”

One of Karen’s most memorable experiences as a midwife was being present for a patient’s birth, who gave birth to a stillborn child, and then present for the birth of her healthy, full-term baby boy two years later. In addition to her husband’s wise quote, she also lives by her grandma’s wisdom, “Look before you leap.” And her father’s favorite line during her teenage years, “What you don’t hear, you will feel.”

Something you might not know about Karen is that she is still afraid of the dark (yes!) Karen is so passionate about access to care, empowerment, women’s rights, and commending their achievements.

Being a part of the Southern Crescent team has been very rewarding; caring for women during their reproductive years is both an honor and a pleasure, knowing that these moments in a woman’s and family’s life are looked upon as being intimate, tender, and life changing. Karen thoroughly enjoys being involved with all the varied journeys of childbirth.

When she is not working, she is happily enjoying life in her hometown of Tyrone and loves spending time with her family, friends and beloved dog, Spencer, (who has somehow survived all of Karen’s own life journeys)! She enjoys reading historical fiction novels, gardening…and eating cheeseburgers and fries!