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Ensuring Healthy Moms & Healthy Babies

By November 14, 2018November 24th, 2020No Comments

Ensuring Healthy Moms & Healthy Babies

Our Pregnancy & Parenting Services

The minute we learn that a Clinics patient is pregnant, the entire team puts its arms around her to ensure that she has a healthy pregnancy and baby. She is immediately connected with one of the Clinics obstetrics nurses to plan for her care, and our doctors, nurses, nurse midwives, and behavioral health specialists step into action. When she goes to Marin General Hospital to deliver, a Clinics midwife is part of the team.

Patient’s life challenges can mean high risk pregnancies

Of the 500-600 women we care for each year, the majority are considered high risk for problem pregnancies.

“Most are immigrants from Latin America and many come with life challenges,” explains Erinn Burke Lance, Certified Nurse Midwife and Program Manager.“Many have experienced trauma in their home country, including leaving children behind. They have fears around immigration issues and may avoid care during the important first trimester. Some have come to the U.S. alone, don’t have a partner, and are isolated. They may not know about pre-natal care, have chronic conditions such as diabetes, or don’t have access to healthy food. It can be a very tough time.”

Keeping a close eye on pregnant moms

Knowing that pre-natal care is critical, we take special effort to ensure that patients feel safe under our care. Given their life challenges, we also focus on more than just their medical care.

Twice a month, obstetrical nurses, pediatricians, and behavioral health staff meet to discuss the most vulnerable patients. “This team approach ensures that we provide the best possible care and that no one falls through the cracks,” explains Lance. “It also provides great continuity once the baby is born.”

Special programs make a difference

In addition the core obstetrical services, the Clinics offers a number of special programs.

  • In 2011, the Clinics adopted the Centering Pregnancy model to provide additional pre-natal support to patients. Proven to decrease premature deliveries, the program develops community and educates the moms about pregnancy, labor, birth, postpartum, breastfeeding, self-care, and baby care.

This summer, a Centering Parenting program was added. Both programs, which are held in Spanish, not only allow providers to spend more time with patients but also create a sense of community.

  • Specialized caseworkers, funded by the State’s Comprehensive Perinatal Services Program, see Medi-Cal enrollees throughout their pregnancy. They determine if the woman has support at home, arrange for practical needs such as car seats and breast pumps, prepare the woman for the hospital, and lead childbirth education classes.

This year, we introduced a new program that assigns volunteer birthing coaches (“doulas”) to work with women who are otherwise without support.

  • The team works closely with our Behavioral Health Division on Resilient Beginnings, a component of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) program. While babies are still in the womb, mothers are screened for medical, psychological, and social traumas, and are referred to the behavioral health team for necessary treatment.

Marin Community Clinics is a model for how to provide high quality, integrated obstetrics care to high risk moms,” concludes Lance.“We know how to take care of them and love doing it.”

Services for Pregnant Moms

  • Bilingual pre-natal care
  • Childbirth education classes
  • Nutrition classes
  • Centering Pregnancy & Centering Parenting
    – group education & support (Spanish)
  • Lactation counseling
  • Pre- & post-natal yoga
  • Car seat classes
  • Referrals to acupuncture, chiropractic & physical therapy

We offer a full array of women’s health services. Visit