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Jones is Natchez’s newest doctor for women’s health

BRITTNEY LOHMILLER/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Dr. Melissa Jones works as an OB/GYN at the Natchez Women's Center.
BRITTNEY LOHMILLER/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Dr. Melissa Jones works as an OB/GYN at the Natchez Women’s Center.

For many people, weekends during the fall include yard work or catching up on chores around the house, possibly a short day trip and maybe a little SEC football.

And for Dr. Melissa Jones, a typical weekend might include those elements.

But last weekend was not a typical weekend.

Last weekend, Jones delivered eight babies.

Jones is the newest obstetrician/gynecologist in Natchez. She started her local practice — joining Dr. Frank Guedon and Certified Nurse Practitioner Kappi Rushing at Natchez Women’s Center — in mid-August, shortly after finishing her residency at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport.

Jones is originally from Slidell and has family in the Natchez area, and when a job came open locally she felt it was a logical choice to start practicing in the Miss-Lou.

“I have been coming to Natchez as long as I can remember, and my dad’s grandparents even used to bring him here,” she said. “I’ve known the area my whole life, and everybody has been wonderful in the community (since I moved here).

“I have been fortunate to meet a lot of people, and I have, in a short time, had a lot of people be very welcoming.”

Jones’ residency at LSU —Shreveport was for four years, and prior to that she studied at St. George’s University School of Medicine in True Blue, Grenada. She is a member of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association.

Jones received her undergraduate bachelor of science in molecular and cellular biology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

But Jones’ desire to be a doctor far preceded her formal studies. Something in her has always wanted to help and heal, she said.

“I always knew I wanted to be a doctor,” she said. “I have told everybody since I was little that it was what I wanted to be, and I always excelled in math and science and went the pre-med route in college — it just made sense.”

Just as she always had an innate sense she wanted to work in medicine, Jones said the decision to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology was not a difficult one.

“I have always had an interest in women’s health, and during medical training as a student, I really fell in love with it,” she said.

Even though reproductive health is a specialized field, Jones said she realizes it has a unique place in most women’s lives, and her work as an OB/GYN welcoming lives into the world is usually the start of a much longer relationship with patients.

“I like all aspects of women’s health care, from child birth to the later years,” she said. “For a lot of women, their OB/GYN is their primary care physician.”

Jones is certified in robotic surgery, and said she likes to focus on minimally invasive surgeries.

“Minimally invasive surgeries are really important, because they have smaller incisions and shorter hospital stays, and patients are on their feet much quicker,” she said. “They’re feeling better quicker, which is a lot better than the traditional six weeks recovery for some surgeries, which is a long time to be off of your feet for anything.”

The doctor said for now she is taking gynecology patients, but is focusing on obstetrics.

“When you do that, your gynecology patient base will build up over time,” she said.

Jones has already helped bring approximately 500 babies into the world.

The first of her Natchez births was in mid-September, a scheduled induction. The second was unplanned.

But that’s the way of the business, and there’s just something about attending a birth that Jones said is energizing.

“Even if you are tired, you forget about it when the baby is born,” she said.

“I don’t think there is anything more exciting than seeing the birth of a baby and seeing the faces of a new mom and a new dad light up in a room.”