If you’re pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have questions about your prenatal clinic visits and staying healthy.
To help you and other patients stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, Intermountain Healthcare has modified some of the OB prenatal appointments to include video visits in addition to your in-person visits if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy. This visit schedule is based on national recommendations.
Jade Elliott spoke with Angela Anderson, certified nurse midwife with Intermountain Healthcare, who explains how these virtual visits work.
Some telehealth prenatal visits are available for low-risk moms without pregnancy complications
This program has been in place for over a year at the Nurse Midwife clinic at Intermountain Medical Center and provides a safe and convenient platform for remote prenatal visits at specific intervals during an uncomplicated delivery using Connect Care, Intermountain’s Telehealth platform, which is now expanding to other locations along with Intermountain Medical Group providers. Ask your provider about your eligibility for video visits for a number of your prenatal visits.
Some in-person visits are still necessary
In general, in-person visits are still recommended for your initial visit; your 20-week ultrasound; labs done at 28 weeks; and appointments after 36 weeks. During the in-person visits, they will perform a physical exam, obtain necessary labs and measurements, etc. Check with your provider to find out what is recommended for your specific situation.
Telehealth visits are an excellent option during the COVID-19 pandemic as you can interact with your provider through video. Phone appointments are also available if you prefer. Check with your provider about what they offer.
Video visits are a safe alternative for uncomplicated pregnancies and have been studied at shown to be successful at other institutions in the U.S.
Technology needed for home visit:
- iPad or computer
- Download the Intermountain Connect Care app.
- Platforms include Connect Care where available, Google Duo, WebEx, Facetime, etc.
How the program got started
There’s been an interest in this for several years and Intermountain looked into some pilot programs at other institutions in the U.S. and they had good outcomes and high patient satisfaction. With our telehealth program well developed, the time was right.
Moms need to meet certain criteria to be able to do video visits
- No serious chronic medical conditions.
- Access to a computer, iPad, tablet, smart phone or other mobile device with internet access.
Five key face to face visits in clinic are needed
The schedule of face-to-face and virtual visits is up to the patient and should be flexible to meet a patient’s clinical and personal needs. Five key face-to-face visits are done during these time frames.
- Initial prenatal visit with labs
- 18-20 week ultrasound visit
- 28 week laboratory/vaccination visit (diabetes screening, hematocrit, Tdap)
- 36 week laboratory visit (GBS)
- 38-40 weeks delivery planning / physical exam visit
The remaining virtual visits are scheduled according to the standard visit schedule to meet the needs of the individual patient.
Providers like the home prenatal visits too
At home visits offer more actual face time with the patient, allowing for more time to talk and increasing satisfaction for the provider as well. Because medical assistants are not involved, it frees them up to help office clinic schedules run more smoothly.
For more information about home prenatal visits go to intermountainhealthcare.org.
The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.