December 6, 2023

Video prenatal visits are a boon for a busy working mom

A new care option offers a mix of in-person and virtual visits, supported by an at-home toolkit.

Karissa Yoakum shares her pregnancy story. The virtual care she received allowed her to spend more time focusing on her family and new business.

When Karissa Yoakum found out she was pregnant with her third child, she and her husband were excited.

“We’ve always wanted to add a third child to our family,” Yoakum said.

But with just 2 months until the opening of her new hair salon, Yoakum was also nervous. She worried about finding time for prenatal appointments — and bringing her 2 young children along.

Then, her ob-gyn, Emily West, MD, told her about an option that would let her do some of her prenatal visits by video.

“I was instantly interested because of my busy lifestyle and knowing that I could actually save some time,” Yoakum said.

Easier access to high-quality care

To support the video visits, Yoakum received an at-home toolkit. The kit included a fetal heart rate monitor, a blood pressure monitor, and a scale.

Ob-gyn Emily West, MD, talks with Kaiser Permanente member Karissa Yoakum during a prenatal video appointment.

Ob-gyn Emily West, MD, talks with Kaiser Permanente member Karissa Yoakum during a prenatal video appointment.

The blood pressure monitor and scale paired with an app on Yoakum’s phone that sent readings to her care team via her electronic health record.

Members who choose this care option still get in-person care at key moments during their pregnancies. They also go in for procedures like lab tests, vaccinations, and ultrasounds.

Members can ask that a video visit be changed to an in-person appointment at any time — or decide they want to have all their appointments in person.

Dr. West says her patients appreciate the feeling of empowerment that comes with taking a more active role in their care.

Yoakum and her newborn, Liya

Yoakum and her newborn, Liya

“If they aren’t feeling well or have a headache, they can check their blood pressure without having to make a trip to my office,” she said.

Yoakum is now the mom of a healthy baby girl. She’s grateful for the flexibility that video appointments provided.

“Every hour is so precious. I want to make sure I am spending it the best way possible,” she said.

Maternity care with our at-home toolkit is available at select Kaiser Permanente medical centers in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Talk with your clinician if you’re a Kaiser Permanente member and want to learn more.