Local doctor retires after more than 40 years helping women in the region

Dr. Stephen Guy oversaw approximately 9,000 births in the region.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

A local doctor has retired after spending more than 40 years working with women in the region as an obstetrician gynecologist, overseeing approximately 9,000 births within his practice.

Dr. Stephen Guy, an OB/GYN, headed up the practice Women’s Health Specialists and Midwives of Dayton, which has two locations, including one at the Berry Building at Miami Valley Hospital, where Guy first began his career. Guy graduated from Ohio State Medical School 42 years ago, spending four years of residency at Miami Valley Hospital and then 38 years in private practice.

The first birth he was involved in as a doctor was when he was a medical student, which drew him toward the field of obstetrics and gynecology instead of his previous goal of going into primary care.

“Just being able to observe that and be part of that intimate experience with the family and the patient is very rewarding, and it never gets old,” Guy said. “It’s always a gift.”

Guy’s practice was also one of the first in the region to incorporate midwives, expanding the number of midwives working with the practice over the years.

“We have a large group of midwives who work in our practice, and so we focus a lot on natural child birth,” Guy said.

They started with one midwife in 1985, and they have since grown to include seven midwives, a nurse practitioner, and two other physicians.

“Birth is a normal, natural process, and over the years, we’ve medicalized the process, and there’s still plenty of room for women to make healthy choices in alternative ways that they can have their baby. Whether they want to deliver in the water or in different positions...that’s their right,” Guy said.

It was important for Guy to have joint decision-making between the patient and the physician or the midwife, he said.

“We like to work together with the patient to help make a good plan for them,” Guy said.

When he was studying to be an OB/GYN, medicine focused the surgical model of giving birth.

“There was a move back in the ‘80s and ‘90s to do more naturalized birth and we would have areas we would call birthing rooms,” Guy said.

Instead of having different spaces for when birthing patients would arrive at the hospital, a surgical space where they would give birth, and then another recovery room, Guy said they utilized birthing rooms where labor, delivery, and recovery would all happen in the same room. This led to their birthing center having its first water birth in 1996, which was a new practice in the region at that time.

“Most times, things can go very normally,” Guy said. This led his practice to keeping the mother and the baby together after the birth.

“That’s a big thing we worked on in my career, non-separation of mom and baby,” Guy said. “So once the baby’s born, we give the baby skin-to-skin with the mom and encouraging nursing immediately and delaying cord clamping—all these things that are much more normal, the way birth should be. That’s been a huge accomplishment over the years...and that’s normal now.”

Guy was born at Miami Valley Hospital in 1956, and he has continued to stay in the local region.

“My family definitely keeps me here. We love living in Ohio and in Dayton. It’s a great place to live and grow up and raise your children,” Guy said.

Specializing in obstetrics and gynecology has allowed Guy to take part in both diagnosing patients, as well as treating patients surgically without having to refer patients to another provider.

“It really brings together the marriage of taking care of the patient medically and surgically,” Guy said. “You get a nice balance between medicine and surgery.”

Obstetrics also involves other aspects of health beyond giving birth, such as heart health, he said.

Being a part of some of the biggest moments of his patients’ lives when they are giving birth has also been a gratifying aspect of his career, he said.

“It’s very rewarding. It’s the emotional thing that holds you to keep doing this job,” Guy said. “There’s not a lot of jobs or practices of medicine that allow you to have complete life cycle of a patient.”

Guy has also been able to see multiple generations of patients, following patients from their young adult lives to parenthood to health issues later in life.

“Then their children start having children, and I have countless numbers of patients that I’ve seen for 38 years,” Guy said. “So the last week has been extremely emotional.”

“He just has made a huge difference in so many people’s lives,” said his wife, Carol. “I don’t think he realizes the impact he had until...people started giving him cards and letters.”

Guy plans to spend time with his family—including his wife, 10 children, and more than a dozen grandchildren—as well as travel, do medical mission work in rural areas of Jamaica, and work with Holy Family Prenatal Clinic. Guy got involved in medical missions in the early 2000s through Ginghamsburg Church.

“It’s something I always wanted to do,” Guy said. “You go through medical school and you hear about medical missionaries...So there’s an intrigue about it and being part of something that’s bigger than yourself.”

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