Today on HJR, we’re featuring a unique and fascinating obstetrical health resource in our community.
It is well established that receiving adequate prenatal care is an important determinant of health for both mom and baby. According to the Hamilton Spectator and the Better Outcomes Registry and Network (or BORN), early access to prenatal care is considered a vital part of preventing premature and low-birth-weight babies, as well as long-term developmental challenges. BORN found that about 85% of expectant moms in Ontario receive prenatal care in their first trimester. In Hamilton, the rate is about 94%, significantly higher than the provincial average. However, similar to the CODE RED series findings, there are geographical differences within the city. For example, in Ancaster, the rate of women receiving prenatal care in the first 3 months of pregnancy in 97%, whereas in the downtown neighbourhood between Kenilworth and Queen St, the rate is 89%. According to BORN, this may be partially due to socio-economic status differences.
However, according to Dr. David Price, chair of McMaster’s Department of Family Medicine and one of the founding members of the Maternity Center, Hamilton has a strong, well-integrated social service network, which helps to increase prenatal care access throughout the city. One of the best examples of these resources is the Maternity Center of Hamilton, the focus of our Health Justice Radio show today.
The Maternity Center of Hamilton, which was opened in 2001, is a clinic that provides prenatal, postpartum and newborn care to moms and their babies. It is a project of the McMaster Department of Family Medicine and is unique in that physician referrals are not required, so women can self-refer. They are cared for a by a committed interprofessional team of nurse practitioners, family doctors, social workers and lactation consultants. Moms will then deliver at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, with the help of the family doctor on call.
To gain some insight into this neat place, we spoke with Claudia Steffler, a Nurse Practitioner and the Unit Director of the Maternity Center of Hamilton. She shares her thoughts on the birth and growth of this exemplary community resource.
Listen to the show by clicking here