By Purusha Rivera
We all know that supportive, attentive and effective prenatal care is essential for a healthy pregnancy. From the conception to delivery, these routine checkups make sure the baby’s development and the mother’s wellbeing are both on track. Prenatal appointments offer the patient a secure space for asking questions, learning about the changes in her body and preparing to undergo labor. As the OB-GYN, your role is to give her confidence and empowerment during each stage of pregnancy. This isn’t news to most OB-GYNs, but it is always good to get back to the basics and think about how we can improve. Here is a refresher with five ways to better engage with your patients in your own practice.
Create an Environment That is Inviting
When a mother-to-be enters the waiting room of your office, make her feel comfortable, nurtured and safe in the environment. Welcome her inside with cozy décor, soothing music and approachable staff. The more a patient can relax in the space you’ve designed, the more inclined she is to entrust herself and her future child in your care. So be intentional about the kind of atmosphere you’re creating within the practice. An OB-GYN appointment should ease both anxiety and stress from the time a patient walks through the door until she exits after the checkup.
Offer Personalized Care and Attention
It’s crucial to treat each patient as an individual and to ensure the type of care she receives is customized to her unique pregnancy. A one-size-fits-all technique is not conducive to prenatal checkups because all bodies progress and respond differently to the changes taking place. Take into account her specific needs and difficulties, make her feel special and establish a dynamic where she knows you’re accessible if she has any questions. If she experiences any fears or concerns, validate her emotions and address them in a way that’s direct and reassuring. Another way you can provide a more personalized approach is by offering your patients meaningful keepsakes like frames that hold ultrasound photos or heartbeat recordings.
Educate the Patient About Her Own Body
In addition to giving her support, you can also teach and equip the patient to become her own healthcare advocate. Education is a vital factor when it comes to pregnancy because knowing what to expect can mitigate added stress and tension on the body. Communicate what is happening inside her and why it’s occurring. Provide clarification when she doesn’t understand, and encourage her to be curious about the process. Make each OB-GYN checkup an opportunity for learning. An informed mother-to-be is more likely to feel prepared for each phase that comes next.
Use a Calming, Compassionate Approach
Kindness matters in all interactions, even in the OB-GYN office, so reassure each patient that you can be trusted by just extending compassion. This breaks down that impersonal doctor-patient barrier and enables you both to connect as human beings. Prenatal care is intimate, so instead of keeping the mood professional and business-like, opt for a more personal approach. This sends the message that she is valued and respected, and that you are committed to her health and the welfare of her baby. A gentle, compassionate demeanor can facilitate a positive OB-GYN experience overall.
Integrate Holistic Methods When Possible
Pregnancy is about more than just the physical developments, and holistic care recognizes this by addressing the mind and spirit too. As her body undergoes this transition, her psychospiritual state fluctuates in response, so incorporate modalities that promote balance in the body, mind, and spirit. This equilibrium can result in a smoother, more functional pregnancy and a less invasive childbirth. Integrating holistic methods with conventional medicine will support the body’s natural progression while nourishing a sense of mental and emotional wellbeing.
A mother-to-be is entering a significant and formative period of her life, so she needs to know that her OB-GYN will offer the most informed, trusted and qualified care available. She is placing her unborn child in your hands, so ensure that you engage her in all aspects of this process, from her intake visit and first ultrasound to the moment her baby makes an appearance in the delivery room.
The author is owner of My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear.