Niles, MI, March 26, 2020 – Pregnancy is an exciting time as a woman enters into motherhood or is adding another member to her family, however, it can also be stressful. The key to a successful pregnancy and delivery is early prenatal care. Early prenatal care allows the healthcare provider to ensure the expectant mother has the latest information on suggested healthy behaviors, education on what to expect during and after pregnancy, and detection of early signs of potential complications that could result in low birthweight. Timely and adequate prenatal care not only creates a positive impact on infant health, but also plays a significant role in post-partum maternal health.

Cassopolis Family Clinic Network (CFCN), a Federally Qualified Health Center, began providing obstetrics and gynecology services in 2007 for women who were uninsured or covered by Michigan Medicaid. CFCN provides prenatal care which is the first and best step to increase chances of a healthy outcome for the mother and infant. CFCN has realized a low birthweight rate below state and national averages since the inception of obstetrical services. “Infants with low birthweight weigh less than 5 lbs., 8 oz. at time of birth. There are two subclasses of low birthweight: very low (less than 3 lbs., 9 oz.) and extremely low (less than 2 lbs., 3 oz.),” said Dr. Kenneth Kaufmann, CFCN OB/GYN provider. “A low birthweight newborn may be healthy even though his weight is below 5lbs., 8 oz. On the other hand, some low birthweight newborns may face serious health issues. Low birthweight is often a result of premature birth, meaning the newborn is welcomed into the world before 37 weeks of pregnancy.”

The current national low birthweight rate is 8.3%, and the rate for the state of Michigan is 8.5% (percentages based on 2018 data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Delivering 413 infants in 2019, CFCN remains at 5% of infants delivered weighing less than 5 lbs., 8 oz. – well below the state average. “We encourage mothers to seek prenatal care as soon as they find out they are pregnant. Seeking prenatal care within the 1st trimester (prior to 13 weeks gestation) and presenting for each scheduled visit is the key to ensure the pregnancy is on track to reach full term (39 – 41 weeks) and early detection for any issues that may arise. Patient education is a crucial part of prenatal care to inform the expectant mother on what to expect, warning signs to look for, and healthy habits for her and the newborn. It is due to our consistent communication with the expectant mother, proactive patient education, and collaboration with Bronson Maternal Fetal Medicine for high-risk pregnancies, we can attribute this continued achievement,” said Dr. Kaufmann.

Bronson Maternal Fetal Medicine in Kalamazoo is the only high-risk pregnancy center for southwestern Michigan and northern Indiana, caring for expectant mothers with complicated pregnancies. When the patients’ physician feels there is an issue that requires special expertise, the patient is referred to the Bronson specialist for consultation. As the mother and fetus are monitored, the patient, Bronson specialists and OB/GYN physician work together to develop a care plan achieve the best possible pregnancy outcome.

“I’m very proud of our dedicated medical, nursing, and support staff members who attend to every detail of prenatal care, delivery and follow-up care for our expectant mothers. Each birth is a little miracle,” said Mary Geegan Middleton, Chief Executive Officer.

In November of 2019, the Obstetrics and Gynecology practice moved into its’ new home and is now part of Niles Community Health Center. For more information or to schedule appointment, call (269) 683-0300.

About Cassopolis Family Clinic Network

Cassopolis Family Clinic Network is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). With locations in Cassopolis and Niles, CFCN provides quality affordable healthcare for the communities of Cass and southeast Berrien Counties. For more information go to www.cassfamilyclinic.org.

This health center is a Health Center Program grantee under 42 U.S.C. 254b, and a deemed Public Health Service employee under 42 U.S.C. 233(g)-(n).