“I’m Dr. Melka, How Can I Help Ya!” – Meet Dr. Stephanie Melka

Dr. Melka, an OBGYN who practices at Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates, talks about her background as a runner and how coaching for marathons parallels coaching through labor and delivery. Plus, learn about how being pregnant has helped her feel more sympathetic with patients and what she has learned about breastfeeding as a physician.

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Meet Dr. Stephanie Melka, or simply “Melka,” as her friends and colleagues call her. Dr. Melka is an OBGYN with Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates. Born and raised in Staten Island, New York, Dr. Melka wanted to work in medicine from childhood. During medical school, she found that obstetrics and gynecology had all of the factors that she was looking for out of a career, including performing surgeries and medical procedures, taking care of patients, and the ability to create long-term, lasting relationships with her patients.  

In addition to her career as an OBGYN, Dr. Melka is an avid runner. She explains that she couldn’t “throw, catch, or kick” but still wanted to be involved in sports in school, so she ran track and cross country in high school and college. In 2006, she completed her first marathon while in medical school, and she has run 11 marathons and completed a triathlon since. In this episode,  Dr. Melka and Dr. Fox recall the first time she helped him complete the New York City Marathon, by joining him in the race and supporting him through about a mile of the route. Dr. Melka notes that marathon coaching helps her coach patients who are in labor. Her experience being “used to jumping in with people at mile 22 of the marathon and getting them through to the end” helps her keep patients motivated through their labor and delivery.  

Dr. Melka also discusses how being pregnant herself gave her more sympathy in some regards when she’s working with her patients. For example, she explains that her personal experience with acid reflux in her own pregnancy gave her a greater understanding for what patients go through. However, she notes that while some patients want to ask about her own experience, it’s not the same for all patients.  

Finally, Dr. Fox and Dr. Melka discuss breastfeeding medicine, which Dr. Melka completed a four-day course on. Becoming involved in breastfeeding is unusual for an OBGYN, but again, Dr. Melka has a special interest in this area after having a baby herself. She notes that this experience and knowledge is especially beneficial for her practice with patients at a higher risk for breastfeeding failure, such as patients with diabetes or those having twins. 

Dr. Stephanie Melka is a board certified OBGYN who completed her B.S. in chemistry and Russian studies at Muhlenberg College, medical school at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn, and residency at Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. Melka joined Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates in 2012 and has clinical interests in high risk pregnancies, office gynecologic procedures, and laparoscopic gynecologic surgeries. In addition, Dr. Melka has completed research in the use of sonographic biometric measurements as independent risk factors for shoulder dystocia.