Dr. Luz Olaya Pettle says people would classify her as blunt, down to earth, and maybe a little sarcastic. This Dallas-native and guns-up Texas Tech alumna recently located to the Rio Grande Valley to join the growing Valley Care Clinics obstetrics and gynecology practice. The weather is so much better here than in Buffalo, she jokes. She left private practice in Buffalo, New York, to head to warmer temps and Texas, which she affectionately calls home.
Pettle, 36, has two children — aged 2 and 4 — with her husband, Ted, yet she waited to answer the call of motherhood until after she completed her lengthy education. She’s a board-certified MD and also holds an MBA. Waiting was a deliberate choice she made.
“My mom had me when she was 19,” she said, reflecting on her Hispanic heritage. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it’s more common in Hispanic culture, but today it takes a lot of education to make it in this world. Girls have dreams and goals, and “putting a baby into that equation … it doesn’t always help.” Pettle says one of the most satisfying parts of her job is to work with teens and young women to plan their families as they see fit and when they see fit.
“It’s OK to talk about sex,” she said. “I’m a big proponent of contraception. I don’t want to think of my own daughter having sex when she gets older. But it can happen, and I want our kids to be educated about safe sex and how to prevent unwanted pregnancies and other diseases.”
Pettle draws from her own experiences to better talk to her patients, whether it’s about waiting to form a family, or how to start their family. She laughs when she talks about her own birth story.
“I know what it’s like to go through labor and push for three hours and wind up with a C-section,” she said. “I also know what it’s like to try to have a vaginal delivery after C-section and still wind up with another C-section. I’ve been in those shoes.” She noted that she and her practice partners are some of very few OB-GYNs in the community that will actually take on patients wanting to try for a VBAC — a vaginal birth following a C-section birth.
“I’m also not the doctor that’s going to tell you not to gain 50 pounds during your pregnancy, because I did,” she added. She feels it is important to have perspective and each woman is different in her needs. Whether it’s natural birth, laboring in a tub, or working with a midwife, “I will try my best to make your pregnancy and delivery special, and healthy,” she said.
For Pettle, patience and hard truth are her virtues. “I’m not the type to sugarcoat things,” she said. “I will always be upfront with you and never lie to you about your health or your care. I practice evidence-based medicine.”
Some of the services Pettle provides at her South McAllen practice include:
- Adolescent and adult gynecology
- Family planning
- Treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Prenatal wellness and exercise education
- Pregnancy induced hypertension
- C-sections and VBACs
- Infertility treatments (IUI)
- Treatments for abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Breast disorders
- Management of normal and high-risk pregnancies
- Pelvic organ prolapse repairs
- Menopause and post-menopausal disorders and more.
As one of seven providers in the Valley Care Clinics Obstetrics and Gynecology group, Pettle has joined a growing team of diverse specialists. She shares an office with Dr. Ebenezer Nii-Moi, who, like Pettle, is da Vinci Surgical System-certified for minimally invasive surgery. In Edinburg, Drs. Giannina Guardia-Rullan, Kristy Morales, and Thiendella Diagne offer similar services. All five OB-GYNs deliver at South Texas Health System’s McAllen Medical Center and The Women’s Corner at Edinburg Regional Medical Center, and they also perform their gynecological surgeries there. Recently, two certified nurse midwives, Anna Shields and Simone Payan, joined the Valley Care Clinics team. They are supervised by the female OB-GYNs, who also manage high-risk OB patients who may be looking for a midwife experience.
“This is a great team to work for. It’s solid,” Pettle said. “We’re all a little different so we have much to offer the community in terms of what type of care, bedside manner, personality, certifications, or whatever it is you are looking for in your doctor. But we all like to say we are team players and partners in our patients’ care no matter at what stage of life they are in.”
More information about the physicians and midwives of the Valley Care Clinics OB-GYN team can be found at www.valleycareclinics.com.
Dr. Luz Pettle is located at 1800 S. Fifth St. in McAllen. For an appointment, you can book online or call (956) 682-4702.