Niles, MI, July 22, 2021 – Pregnancy is an exciting time for a woman and 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 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 prenatal care not only creates a positive impact on infant health, it also plays a significant role in post-partum maternal health.
Cassopolis Family Clinic Network (CFCN), a Federally Qualified Health Center, serving the residents of Cass and Southeast Berrien Counties, provides obstetrical care for women who are uninsured or covered by Michigan Medicaid. Prenatal care is the first and best step to increase chances of a healthy outcome for the mother and infant. CFCN has realized a better than average low birthweight rate since the inception of obstetrical services in 2007. “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%, the state of Michigan is 8.8% (percentages based on 2019 data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and CFCN’s is 6.2% – 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.
The health center’s integrated model of care, which focuses on the patient’s needs, also includes behavioral health services to support mothers during pregnancy. “We have a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner on staff who is certified in Perinatal Mental Health. We can support our moms currently on medications, or provide an assessment that helps determine the need for Psychotropic medications,” said Dr. Matthew Pazderka, CFCN Chief Medical Officer. “We also provide Substance Use Treatment with medical staff, nurses, social workers, community health workers and pharmacists who are all committed to helping expectant mothers be well and deliver full term, healthy babies.”
“I like to say that we change lives and save lives every day,” said Mary Geegan Middleton, Chief Executive Officer. “It’s the result of dedicated staff members working in an integrated model of care which wraps services around our patients that makes such a positive difference.”
Please contact 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.