Ensuring a newborn grows up happy and healthy is every doctor’s ultimate goal. Maintaining continuity of care, particularly during the time between prenatal and postnatal newborn care, is especially important to the doctors at Austin Regional Clinic.

Community Impact sat down with Shaili S. Singh, MD, a pediatrician at ARC Pflugerville, and Crystal S. Berry-Roberts, MD, MBA, FACOG, OB-GYN at ARC South OB-GYN, to discuss why continuity of care is so crucial and how ARC can help coordinate this relationship.

When does prenatal care start and why is it necessary?

Dr. Berry-Roberts:
It's very important to establish prenatal care as soon as possible. Doing so can help identify any factors that may make the pregnancy higher risk. This can help facilitate laying the groundwork early on for how to strategically go about trying to ensure the best outcomes for mom and baby. Preconception counseling before trying to get pregnant is also a good step even before prenatal care is needed.

After getting the positive home pregnancy test, establishing prenatal care and getting the first trimester ultrasound done are important to make sure that we're seeing signs of a promising, progressing pregnancy. Then we can work through medical history or any prior obstetrical history that will be taken into consideration throughout the care of the patient.

When does newborn care start and what is included?

Dr. Singh:
Newborn care starts at the time the baby is born. However, many times we encourage the family—if it’s their first baby—to find a pediatrician, usually in the third trimester. To help with that, we have prenatal meet and greets, which are currently in an online format, or you can choose to come in and meet one pediatrician at a time at one or more of our locations.

We go around to several nearby hospitals and we'll see the babies there. Once you're discharged from the hospital, we'll see them in our clinic, usually between one to three days later depending on what's going on with the baby. Then we have a well-check schedule for the infant after that.

What tools does ARC offer to expectant and new parents?

Dr. Berry-Roberts:
Our new parents are getting as much information as they can. We definitely like to talk up the relationship that we do have between the obstetrics department and the pediatrics department. We have a program called Babyscripts, a pregnancy and postpartum app, as a resource for parents. A big component of what we also offer now is lactation support through a partnership with Breastfeeding Success.

Dr. Singh: We really encourage that transition from OB-GYN to pediatrics, because when it all stays within one circle, it actually makes communication very easy. We have our electronic medical records, so we can access labs or other information more easily from any ARC location. We also have our newborn booklet. This provides so much information to the parents in those first few critical days and weeks. ARC also offers After Hours Clinics, in five locations, weekday evenings, weekends and holidays if care is needed.

Parents can also utilize NormanMD, our subscription tele-health service, that provides adult and pediatric physicians 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to answer non-emergency acute problems through virtual visits.

Where are ARC OB-GYN clinics located?

Dr. Berry-Roberts:
We have a total of five ARC locations that have OB-GYN care:How many ARC clinics have pediatricians?

Dr. Singh:
We have 22 locations in 14 cities staffed with pediatricians. All of our After Hours clinics have pediatricians on staff as well.

How does coordination of care benefit both parents and children?

Dr. Singh:
Everything about pediatrics is about making sure you're healthy and keeping you healthy, all the way from birth to adulthood. It's about those long lasting relationships. So many of us can remember our pediatrician growing up because you see them for such a large chunk of your life. This is about building that long lasting relationship, not just with the child, but with the whole family. We want to take care of the whole family from birth onwards.

Dr. Berry-Roberts: Though I am charged with mom’s progress postpartum, I appreciate and value having the additional eyes of the pediatrician on her when she’s taking her newborn to several appointments. The OB-Pedi dynamic at ARC helps us achieve good maternal and baby outcomes together as a team.

Looking to start your prenatal or postnatal/newborn journey? Visit ARC’s website or stop by an ARC clinic to learn more.

The above story was produced by Community Impact's Storytelling Senior Multi-Platform Journalist Sierra Rozen with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.