Women’s Health and Pregnancy Care
At WellSpace Health, we believe that everybody deserves to be seen, no matter who you are, where you come from, where you work, or what place you call home.
At WellSpace Health, we see you.
This is exemplified in our Women’s Health Program where we provide care and support, in a culturally competent manner, to hundreds of women every day.
Last year, we served 9,000 women. This year we are on track to serve even more.
From routine gynecological exams to breast and cervical cancer screenings, we provide a comprehensive array of services that are designed to meet the unique needs of our patients.
For women who are pregnant, we help them develop personalized labor and childbirth plans, provide prenatal and postnatal care throughout the pregnancy and we attend the birth of their children at Sutter Health and Dignity Health hospitals.
After our moms give birth, before they even leave the hospital, we wrap them in a blanket of care, scheduling an appointment with one of our physicians for follow-up care and scheduling their baby’s first appointment with one of our pediatricians. As the baby grows, we welcome them into our children’s dental health program and other services.
If mom struggles with post-partum depression or otherwise struggles with mental health, we help guide her into our comprehensive behavioral health program.
Our Women’s Health Program is a model of care for which we are very proud.
Last year, 1 in 10 children born in Sacramento County were WellSpace Health patients. That’s right, nearly 2,000 women in our care gave birth in 2018.
Within the community of women serve, needs vary greatly, often based on the circumstances of their lives. Women experiencing homelessness, women fleeing domestic violence, women who are uninsured, women who are insured but struggling in a multitude of other ways, each one in need of a unique plan of care.
Sometimes it goes beyond circumstance. For black women, it is a matter of race. Health disparities affecting black women and babies appear to be less dependent on age, economic status or education than for women of other racial or ethnic groups. Poor birth outcomes persist even when black women have a pregnancy at an optimal age, have high income or are well educated. Black babies are twice as likely to be born with a low birth weight as infants of other racial or ethnic groups. Sadly, 60-70% of the black babies who die during their first year of life, die due to prematurity or from low birth weight.
At WellSpace Health, thanks to our Black Infant Death Reduction Program, which unifies our medical team and cultural broker team, more than 500 black mothers in a row have given birth to their babies. Of those, only 5%
were premature and 6% had low birth weight, which is significantly lower than both the National and Sacramento County averages. Our babies are healthier.
As you can tell, we’re very proud of the care we provide even though, until now, we had a significant gap in our services – ultrasound machines.
Until now, women served by WellSpace Health were referred elsewhere when an ultrasound was required. When it was complete they had to wait a day or more before they could speak with their provider about the results. From a service standpoint it was frustrating, but from a patient perspective it was a critical loss because we could not be there for them at key points in their pregnancy, when more than ever they needed their care team.
Ultrasounds are not only an exciting way to see your baby for the first time and find out if it’s a boy or girl, but they also reveal changes in the health and the development of a growing child. Gestational age, heart rate, movement, breathing, due date, – all detected by an ultrasound.
Today, thanks to the generosity of our partners at Anthem Blue Cross, who have donated three state of the art ultrasound machines, we can now be there with our patients at these key junctions.
I can’t overstate our gratitude, I really can’t. This gift will be life changing for thousands of women. The impact will be felt dozens of times every day. Just this week, Dr. Allen had the pleasure of sharing a babies gender in real-time with one of his long-time patients. It was a wonderful moment for both of them, all thanks to Anthem.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You are changing lives.
I started today by sharing that at WellSpace Health, we believe everyone deserves to be seen. We interpret that in a lot of ways to express our compassion for those we serve, but I’m happy to say that today, we mean it quite literally.
Everybody deserves to be seen. To the babies who will be visiting us soon, we see you.
*Prepared remarks delivered by WellSpace Health Chief Operating Officer Brenda Shipp at an Aug. 9, 2019 event celebrating the donation of five ultrasound machines to the Women’s Health Program. Read more from the Sacramento Bee by clicking here.