December 15, 2023

Family-centered care, through pregnancy and beyond

Members experiencing a low risk pregnancy have the option of having their physician care for them throughout their pregnancy as well as for their child after birth.

Cathy Scoggins, from Oregon, has peace of mind knowing that the physician who guided her through pregnancy continues to care for her children as they grow into adolescence.

When you get pregnant, it’s natural to assume you’ll see an obstetrician for the duration of the pregnancy, and then your baby will see a pediatrician. And in fact, that’s a pretty typical progression for many people. However, it’s not the only way.

The Pregnancy Journey program through Kaiser Permanente’s Family Medicine Obstetrics department in Portland, Oregon, gives expecting parents another option. For low-risk pregnancies, members can opt to get obstetric care with family medicine physicians at clinics around the region through pregnancy and up to labor and delivery. And after delivery, the baby can be seen by the same family medicine physician, rather than having a separate pediatrician. For members who prefer it, this can mean a continuity of care for the whole family, spanning preconception through pregnancy, to care for the family members as they grow.

Continuity of care was a relief

This is the path Cathy Scoggins, an educator in Oregon, chose for her family. She began seeing Debra Davis, MD, in 2008, along with her stepdaughter and daughter. When Scoggins became pregnant, Dr. Davis guided her through that pregnancy, followed by a third pregnancy in 2010. Dr. Davis cared for Scoggins and all of her children as they grew up and continues to see Scoggins, her husband, and 3 of their 4 children today.

Dr. Davis is very knowledgeable, baby to adult. All my kids are extremely different. She reassured me that that’s OK and catered to their needs.

That continuity of care was a relief to Scoggins. “Pregnancy is very personal, and it’s nice to have the person you have the relationship with helping you through that,” she said.

“Dr. Davis is very knowledgeable, baby to adult,” said Scoggins. “All my kids are extremely different. She reassured me that that’s OK and catered to their needs.”

Of course, illnesses and injuries come up that require specialty care. In those cases, doctors like Davis collaborate with Kaiser Permanente specialists and direct members to the care they need. “She’s been very helpful when my family needed specialists for broken bones or other more serious health concerns. She's done a wonderful job connecting us with the care we need.”

“Having continuity with patients really helps me support them more fully in pregnancy,” said Dr. Davis, who has seen patients ranging from newborns up to 106 years old.

Building relationships and better understanding

That means getting to know patients long before they conceive, helping optimize their care to make sure they’re ready for pregnancy, then collaborating closely with an OB-GYN throughout pregnancy. During newborn visits, Dr. Davis coaches new parents on feeding, sleep, child development, and a wide range of issues that come up for babies and young children. As those kids age, she helps teens launch into adulthood.

“We’re uniquely situated to care for the whole family unit in a comprehensive manner with care and compassion and the longevity of relationships that we’re able to have with patients,” said Dr. Davis.

“That builds trust, and that’s important. To have someone they know understands them and understands their history and can build on that. That’s one of the real opportunities for providing prenatal care in family medicine.”

Learn more about pregnancy care with Kaiser Permanente.