GONZALES — There's nothing more important than one's health, and there's a couple of new doctors in town to help the community stay well. The first is Dr. Rikki Baldwin, who comes to us straight off of her residency in Pontiac, Mich. The only obstetrician and gynecologist in town is busy settling in while getting to know her patients.
“It's good,” the doctor said of her new surroundings. “Everyone's been so friendly and so accommodating to me. But I'm trying to get used to not having a Starbucks here, though.”
Baldwin grew up in a small East Texas town, so she thought that Gonzales would be a good fit.
“It's a little bit daunting just coming out of training, but I was trained very well,” Baldwin said. “Once you get thrown into it it's like second nature. It's starting to feel like I'm settling in now.”
She took to medicine after watching her grandfather become ill while she was a teen. The thought of helping others in need drew her to the occupation where she gravitated toward women's health while in med school because of the balance of care that it provides.
“As far as the obstetrics side, I take care of women before, during, and after their pregnancies. Basically I'm taking care of two patients during the pregnancy,” she said. “As far as the gynecology side, I take care of any women's issues from early childhood all the way through menopause. I kind of run the gamut on what kind of female problems are occurring. I can take care of them.”
A community doctor sees a good cross section of the residents of the city. From that vantage point, Baldwin is allowed to describe what she sees as common threads that go through a local population and some of the things that might go toward bettering the society.
“It seems like every woman — not just in this community — is born and raised to be givers and take care of everyone else,” she explained. “They take care of their husbands or their boyfriends or their children, and a lot of times they neglect themselves for a long time until things get out of hand. Women should know their bodies well, and if there is something going on, I would prefer women to come in sooner rather than later so we can nip the problem in the bud before they end up in the hospital. I'm a big proponent of preventative care.”
She stressed that sometimes it becomes too late if a woman does not take care of herself at the onset of a problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list heart disease, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory disease as the most common maladies for women. Baldwin says that women are the boss of their own health and need to take charge of it. For instance, if a woman is concerned about insurance coverage, she should call her doctor and insurance provider to see what is covered. There's no reason to wait until a problem is evident.
And even amongst the older population, women should not assume that menopause means that they are in the clear. It is wise to visit your gynecologist for a routine examination every year. It all equals a happier life, Baldwin explained.
“Not only do I deliver babies but I do take care of all parts of women's health whether it's periods or bladder issues, anything that's in that area I can address,” she said.
When she's not seeing patients, you might see the doctor around town with her two Welsh corgis. Meanwhile, she hopes to have a positive impact on women's health in Gonzales.
“I hope to see you out in the community,” she said.
Rikki Baldwin, DO, practices out of the Sievers Medical Clinic. You can reach her office at 830-672-8502.