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Finding the Right OB-GYN – New Programs Coming to AtlantiCare

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AtlantiCare Logo

By From AtlantiCare

Historically, the topic of women’s reproductive health is rarely talked about. Some women feel uncomfortable discussing it, others may be embarrassed, and some cultures even consider it “taboo.” And, if you experience anxiety, fear, or some other deterrent when it comes to that visit, you are not alone. But, if you are a woman 18 years or older, regular OB-GYN visits are imperative to maintaining your health. Moreover, if you are of childbearing years and thinking about becoming pregnant or are pregnant, ensuring a continuum of care that includes an obstetrician helps maximize the health and wellbeing of you and your baby.  
Choosing an OB-GYN is quite personal, and it should be.
You need to feel comfortable with and trust your provider. Finding the right OB-GYN for you can result in a lifelong journey of reproductive health, maternal health, health of your children and more.
AtlantiCare helps women of Cape May County and beyond experience this through our AtlantiCare Physician Group OB-GYN practices in Cape May Court House, Rio Grande and other convenient locations, as well as the excellent care afforded at the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Mainland Campus (ARMC), which includes our Center for Childbirth and the region’s only Level 3 NICU, staffed with compassionate professionals ready to handle any complications that might occur—even for the smallest and most critically ill newborns. In addition, in 1992 AtlantiCare also introduced what today is the largest, most comprehensive midwifery program in the area. Our more than 20 certified nurse midwives further enhance our OB-GYN services.
At AtlantiCare, all of our providers are OB-GYNs, however, the obstetrician (OB) and the gynecologist (GYN) each have unique medical specialties which are important to understand.
Obstetricians focus on everything related to pregnancy.  
Their comprehensive care starts before a woman is pregnant and continues throughout the pregnancy, during delivery, and after the baby is delivered. The care of an obstetrician—from preconception to post-natal—works to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Other important obstetrician roles include providing:
    – Access to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) services if the baby is born prematurely or with a critical condition
    – Fertility therapies for women who have trouble getting pregnant
    – Care for pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia or fetal distress
    – Support for postpartum depression
    – Connections to other services to enhance the birthing experience and outcomes, such as certified nurse midwives and doulas 
Gynecologists specialize in a woman’s reproductive health.
A gynecologist cares for all aspects of a woman’s reproductive system from the time of her first menstruation until she is post-menopausal. A gynecologist is often the first line of defense in disease prevention and other issues with the cervix, uterus, ovaries, etc. Additional services include:
    – Screenings such as breast exams, pap smears, and pelvic exams
    – Hysterectomies  
    – Guidance on sexual activities, responsible sex, contraceptives, and how to prevent STDs
    – Diagnosing and treating for a variety of issues such as irregular periods, vaginal infections, reproductive system cancers, ovarian cysts, and more 
The right obstetrician and gynecologist go hand-in-hand to provide a continuum of care that you can rely on at every stage of life. Here are some key attributes to look for when choosing an OB-GYN.
Availability and accessibility
It’s best to have someone close to home—a convenient appointment is one that is easier to make and keep! Make sure the practice is in your insurance network. And, for maternity care, it’s important your provider practice has 24/7 coverage by board-certified obstetricians.
Continuity and specialty
Your OB-GYN should meet general needs as well as any unique health needs you may have—or that may develop. Look for overall gynecological health services as well as other capabilities. Gynecologists with AtlantiCare Physician Group OB/GYN practices, for example, offer urogynecology and gynecologic surgery services, diagnoses and treatment of STDs, family planning services, and more. Our obstetricians include specialists in high-risk pregnancies, work with nursing staff trained specifically in the care of mothers and infants and offer services they can benefit from throughout their pregnancy and delivery—such as certified nurse midwives.
Unique support services
An OB-GYN should be connected to services that make your experience as a mother-to-be, new mom, and family better and healthier. Centering programs bring similar people together for peer-to-peer support, education, and professional guidance. CenteringParenting® does this for parents with infants of the same age and CenteringPregnancy® does this for women at the same term and provides each woman with one-on-one time with the centering provider to check her baby and privately discuss any concerns.  
AtlantiCare is launching both programs this winter, allowing small groups to progress through their journeys together. Also available are programs like AtlantiCare’s Safe Beginnings, which offers a variety of free prenatal and postnatal support services—up to baby’s first birthday—that address many of the factors necessary to prevent trouble pregnancy and unhealthy babies. Services like these go a long way in terms of health and well-being.
To learn more or find an AtlantiCare Physician Group OB/GYN practice near you, visit atlanticare.org or call 1.888.569.1000.

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