Q&A with Dr. Faith Daggs
Dr. Faith Daggs has known since childhood that she wanted to be a doctor, and she decided in medical school to focus on obstetrics and gynecology. She attended Catholic University in Washington, DC, followed by med school and ob/gyn residency at Georgetown. Following twenty years of practice at Geisinger Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill, PA, where most recently she was Chief of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Daggs and her husband, Paul, have moved their family of twelve to the Triangle where she joins Reply Ob/Gyn & Fertility. Dr. Daggs is a long-time advocate of fertility awareness as a women’s health tool, and her interests include minimally-invasive surgery and other fertility sparing techniques. She heads Reply’s obstetrics services at WakeMed Cary Hospital.
Dr. Daggs’s services include:
• Gynecologic Care
Featuring Reply’s cooperative approach to gynecology
• Minimally-invasive Surgery
For endometriosis and other conditions
• Fertility Services
Featuring Reply’s “Finding & Fixing” treatment for infertility
• Prenatal Care
For high-risk and low-risk pregnancies
At WakeMed Cary Hospital beginning August 2018
You trace your interest in medicine to your childhood.
What was the spark?
When I was four years old, my oldest sibling developed a brain tumor and passed away on her 16th birthday. Several years later I found some of her medical records and was fascinated not only by the medicine and science behind what had happened, but also by its impact on our family. I wanted to be a part of the world of medicine, and I knew going into high school that I was called to be a doctor.
My teachers did an excellent job engaging me in science and I did some volunteering. Entering medical school, I thought that I wanted to be a family medicine physician because I love the long-term connection with patients and their families over the course of their entire lifetimes. But when I did my ob/gyn rotation in my third year of medical school, I realized how much I loved women’s health specifically, and the variety of things you get to do as an ob/gyn–surgery, delivering babies, and more–while still serving patients and families over the course of their lifetimes from the teen years through menopause. I fell in love with the profession, and, again, knew that I was called not only to be a doctor, but to serve women specifically as an ob/gyn.
Your incorporation of fertility awareness into patient care makes you fairly unique; tell us more about that and how it’s used at Reply Ob/Gyn & Fertility.
There is so much information gained that is useful to both the patient and her care team when a woman practices fertility awareness, and this allows patients to become true partners in their own healthcare. When women chart their cycles we get information that we cannot obtain from any other test, lab work, or evaluation. It really is an amazing and underused tool. To me, it’s incredibly exciting to empower women about their health in this way, and this is a tool they can use for the rest of their lives—whether it’s simply to understand the body’s schedule of ovulation and menstruation, or to help evaluate and treat medical conditions, or for family planning since fertility awareness can be used to help conceive or to prevent pregnancy naturally.
I joined Reply because of their commitment to fertility awareness and their cooperative approach to clinical care, which allows me to practice in the manner I feel best benefits patients. This extends beyond just teaching patients about fertility awareness but to a philosophy of care that respects the natural function of the body and treads lightly when it come to treatment, with a view to optimizing health. This is especially important when it comes to surgery, and the Reply approach and my person approach are very much in sync, which is to work as much as possible to employ fertility-sparing techniques that respect the body.
Also, the fact that Reply features patient education, and values professional collaboration and medical research, both were very important to me. It’s just exciting to be part of this practice and the on-going effort to improve knowledge about women’s health.
What are some of the more vexing health issues for women of reproductive age?
Unfortunately, there are a number of health challenges women might confront throughout their reproductive life span. It is common for young women to experience irregular or painful periods following puberty, and this is an area where I think we need better awareness, in particular surrounding the condition of endometriosis. There seems to be a general notion that debilitating pain is “part of being a woman” and nothing can be done about it, and this just is not true.
Similarly, there’s a lot of fog and mystery surrounding infertility, and, in my view, too much attribution of “unexplained infertility.” At Reply, we take a “Finding & Fixing” approach that treats infertility as a symptom, and we try–as much as we can and as much as the patient wants–to find out what is the underlying cause, or the underlying causes, and treat what’s wrong so hopefully the couple can conceive naturally. Same goes for miscarriage, so often chalked up as “nature’s way,” but we want to know “is there something we can do to help prevent this?”
And finally, for women experiencing problem menopause—again, we want to push back against any notion that problems are to be “endured.” We are always looking for steps can we take to alleviate symptoms and optimize health…always asking, how can we help?
How is your family enjoying North Carolina?
We love North Carolina and already had family here, and we have happy memories of previous trips and vacations here. Of course, a move is always a big event for family and especially for kids. Our kids range in age from 6 to 22 years old, so you can imagine there’s a lot involved in this transition. But this is such a dynamic and diverse area, we feel very welcomed by our new neighbors and with such a large family we’re meeting new friends every day. I’ve also really enjoyed meeting my new patients and learning from them, just as they learn from me. It’s a real honor to be engaged in this work, and we all feel very blessed!
Dr. Faith Daggs is accepting new patients at Reply Ob/Gyn & Fertility. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit replyobgyn.com or call 919-230-2100. Major insurances are accepted.