By: Melissa Londono
The journey of becoming a parent can be overwhelming with so many changes in such little time. Although there are many books to read on what to expect, classes to attend to prepare for the welcoming of a new baby, nothing really prepares you for when your new bundle of joy arrives.
This is where Oak Valley Health’s new Postpartum Village can help.
Theresa, a first time parent, felt just that. She had many questions to ask after her baby was born and needed support with all of these new changes. “Stephanie, one of the midwives that works in the Family and Baby Clinic, helped me navigate through this process during my early postpartum period,” says Theresa. “The clinic has so many inclusive services all in one place which I found the most convenient. The staff go above and beyond to advocate and support their patients.”
It has been said it takes a village to raise a child, and at Oak Valley Health, we are committed to being part of that village that will continue to support new parents and their family’s wellbeing long after their baby arrives.
Oak Valley Health created Postpartum Village, an online ‘village’ of services for new parents and their baby, staffed by caregivers specializing in postpartum care including breastfeeding, newborn care, and mental health.
“We created the Postpartum Village, an online space bringing together all of our clinics and resources where new parents can find programs, specific to their needs after having a baby,” says Silva Nercessian, Director of Childbirth and Children’s Services & Alongside Midwifery Unit at Oak Valley Health’s Markham Stouffville Hospital. “The team here wanted to ensure that new parents feel just as supported when they were expecting their baby, as they do in this new stage of their life.”
Programs and clinics that are part of our Postpartum Village include a Breastfeeding Clinic staffed by a certified lactation consultants, a Family and Baby Clinic offering postpartum wellness checks for both parents and babies, jaundice follow-up, weight check and feeding support, and telephone advice seven days a week. Mental health services are supported by a Perinatal Social Work Care program providing support to managing issues that may arise as a result of stressful life events and transitions during pregnancy and postpartum, as well as the Women’s Wellness Services, that offers Postpartum Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Group sessions to those who are identified, or at risk of depression and/or anxiety pre/postnatal. Postpartum Village services also includes an Obstetrical Postpartum Clinic that provides follow up care for birthing parents that are higher risk and need Obstetrician follow up. For babies who may be at higher risk and require a Paediatrician follow up, there is also our Paediatric Ambulatory Clinic.
All resources are available to parents who delivered at Markham Stouffville Hospital and most of them to new parents who live in the area but who may not have delivered at our hospital.
“The Family and Baby Clinic is our newest addition to our program,” says Stephanie, Postpartum Primary Care Coordinator at Markham Stouffville Hospital. “It was created in the midst of the pandemic to support new parents who could not access in-person care. We were noticing that many new families had no access to a primary care provider, and as a team we got together and created this robust seamless model of care.”
The Family and Baby Clinic provides a wide range of support. The clinic provides much needed services between the time of hospital discharge and the family seeing their own provider. For families who cannot access a primary care provider, the Family and Baby Clinic follows families up to one month after giving birth. This is part of delivering an extraordinary patient experience. Oak Valley Health is supporting new parents not only within our organization, but providing care beyond our walls.
“We have seen that by providing this service, patients feel more at ease especially during the first month of so many changes and adjustments to their new life as parents,” says Stephanie. “The clinic is midwifery led, sees both parent and baby and offers in-person support that really makes all the difference when you have so many questions after your new baby has arrived.”
The Postpartum Village is a one stop shop for new families to navigate the multiple services available to them. The dedicated team of postpartum care providers includes nurses, midwives, physicians, social workers, and mental health experts. Together the team will assist new families in getting the support they need, as every families journey is unique.
To learn more about our Postpartum Village or to access our services, visit our website.
Melissa Londono is a Sr. Communications Specialist, Oak Valley Health.