Pregnancy can be overwhelming. Emotions run high: Joy. Nervousness. Fear. Uncertainty. Not to mention the physical changes during pregnancy. Add to that additional anxiety around the COVID-19 pandemic or struggling to make ends meet. That’s a stressful and tense situation to be in, and unfortunately, over the past year, a common one. Enter Marin Community Clinics’ Obstetrics (OB) team. Made up of expert physicians and nurses that work closely with certified midwives, medical assistants, case managers, and birth coaches, the OB team offers a vast array of services that extend beyond medical visits to promote healthy and comfortable pregnancies for patients and their families.
An Earned Trust
While women receive comprehensive prenatal, labor and delivery support, and postpartum medical treatment, the care doesn’t stop there. The Clinics offers something deeper. A level of support that lets them know: We care about you. We have your back. It’s about being there throughout a patient’s pregnancy, speaking their language, and providing support in other areas of their lives too. It’s going the extra mile, and building a bond – a trust. It’s a pride-point among Clinics staff.
“Our OB team provides ‘whole person care’ throughout every step of the pregnancy and postpartum,” explained Michele Baron, MD, OB-GYN. “This includes connecting patients to mental health services, birth classes, and hospital orientations, as well as providing support when non-medical issues arise.” Long before a patient is in labor, she knows exactly what to expect. Everyone is on the same page – the Clinics’ model of compassionate OB care is built around this principle of continuity.
A Connected Team in Each Patient’s Corner
In other words, no Marin Community Clinics patient gives birth alone, or feeling isolated without support. The close-knit OB team is there to help break down health care disparities within Marin. Case managers bridge the gap. They know what resources are available internally, and they know which agency or partner organization to reach out to as needed. They have the contacts. “A patient may not know where to begin looking for rental assistance,” explains Norma Ledezma, OB Case Manager Supervisor. “They might be in an abusive relationship, or they could have a partner struggling with addiction. They may need diapers, or a car seat, or a ride to and from medical appointments.” Case managers know exactly who to call, and they advocate for patients, no matter the situation. That connectedness makes all the difference.
Over the past year, more women than ever were in need of such additional services. Despite the increased workload, the outcomes remain extremely rewarding. “We see patients come back with their babies, to see our pediatricians,” said Ledezma. “We see the changes they’ve made in their lives. We see our impact and the difference it makes.” The women and their families see it too. They know they have a medical home at Marin Community Clinics, and so do their babies.