A new health care program is aiming to create a more personal environment for future moms in Winnipeg.
The obstetrics team at Kildonan Medical Centre (2300 McPhillips St., inside the Seven Oaks General Hospital) recently launched the Community Birth Program to provide pregnant women with collaborative prenatal care. Midwife Elisabeth Dolin and family doctor Larry Reynolds will be seeing the patients together during their maternity care and have their delivery done by one of them at the Women’s Hospital, where they can also access other resources such as a dietitian, a psychologist, and a pharmacist.
Typically people chose an obstetrician, a family physician or a midwife for care, and sometimes they see a family physician up until about 36 weeks and then go to the obstetrician. A team of midwives assesses the patient during her pregnancy, and one is at the delivery. So throughout their care, a patient may see up to three or four midwives.
"This is a little bit different because instead of a team of midwives, it’s a team of one midwife and a family physician. We’re quite focused on continuity of care, so they see both of us, and one of us will be at their birth and follow them and baby through until about six weeks after the birth. But it’s only the two of us, so there’s a lot of continuity for the women in their care," said Dolin, a midwife with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
The program is the first of its kind in Manitoba, and it’s already improving the families’ comfort level with their care providers because they have time to get to know each other on a meaningful level and develop an ongoing relationship that can be beneficial at the time of delivery. Care providers understand their patients’ situation, the family circumstances, medical and social issues.
"It certainly does become more personal, and while that may not be important for some women, I think it’s important to others," said Sarah Kredentser, a family physician, low-risk obstetrics co-ordinator at the WRHA, assistant professor in the department of family medicine for the Max Rady Faculty of Medicine, and medical director of the Family Medicine Obstetrics Network. Kredentser also oversees the program.
The personal care provided at Kildonan Medical Centre can reduce the number of times women go into the hospital during their pregnancy. Patients can contact the team 24-7 and know they are speaking to someone who knows them and their situation.
"We already have a background on them, and so I think that gives them a little bit more confidence in their care as well," said Gina West, a primary care nurse at Kildonan Medical Centre.
The program also offers home visits. Dolin can assess women at their home if they are not able to go into the clinic. The same also happens after the baby is born. If the mother has any concerns, Dolin is just one phone call away.
"The goal is to make women do the early labour at home if they are comfortable with that or they want to do that," she explained. "When you have that kind of individualized support you see better outcomes when you have continuity of care for women and for babies."
Women interested in being part of the program can self-refer or ask their family doctor to refer them by calling Kildonan Medical Centre at 204-632-3203.
Community journalist — The Times
Ligia Braidotti is the community journalist for The Times. Email her at email@example.com