Submitted by Dr. Jenna Ingersoll
The decision to start a family can be daunting, and newly pregnant women and their families often have lots of questions. Here at NorthLakes, we offer preconception counseling, prenatal care, hospital deliveries at MMC and HAMH, and newborn care from our clinics in Iron River, Ashland, Hayward, and Minong.
Who are the doctors? We’re a team of trained providers who genuinely enjoy caring for pregnant women and children, with the number one priority being a safe and healthy pregnancy for mom and a good start for the newborn. The following are just a few of the questions we often get from our patients.
What is preconception counseling? If you are planning to become pregnant, scheduling an appointment beforehand can be a great opportunity to meet a doctor, and discuss ways to start a healthy pregnancy. We review basic things like prenatal vitamins, exercise recommendations, diet considerations, and things to avoid like certain medications. Additionally, if a complication happened in a previous pregnancy, it gives us a chance to discuss how to reduce risks for your next pregnancy.
What typically happens at prenatal appointments? First of all, we ask some questions and see how you are feeling. We review your health history and family history. We make suggestions to deal with common problems like nausea and heartburn. If any lab tests or ultrasounds are due, we review these, and go over the next steps in the pregnancy as well. Prenatal visits usually happen every 4 weeks at the beginning of a pregnancy, and become more frequent at the end. With the changes in clinic appointments due to COVID-19, in many cases we are able to offer Virtual Visits in place of some of the in-person clinic visits.
Our clinics provide all the lab testing that is standard in pregnancy and our doctors will review these recommendations with you. We offer limited ultrasound capabilities in Iron River, or we partner with area clinics and the hospitals to obtain ultrasounds when necessary. We also know that pregnancy can be a stressful time, and there are many changes happening to your body, so often there are needs beyond typical medical care. NorthLakes provides full service coordinated wrap around care with mental health, recovery services, chiropractic care and dental for our pregnant patients with these needs.
What happens if there’s a complication? If something unexpected comes up, we may need to get a specialist involved. This may mean extra appointments in Duluth, Hayward or Ashland. No matter what, we will get you to the right place to ensure that you have a safe pregnancy.
Where do I have the baby? We deliver babies at MMC in Ashland and HAMH in Hayward. However, if you prefer to deliver in Duluth, we can often develop a system to have some of your appointments with us, and then transfer care to Duluth later on in the pregnancy. We are always excited to have you bring the baby back to us for routine child checks. And we offer all standard birth control options after the baby is born.
How has COVID-19 changed prenatal care and deliveries? Just like we did for routine medical appointments, we switched some appointments to Virtual Visits. We still need labs and ultrasounds sometimes, so we try to coordinate when it’s necessary to come to the clinic. We are wearing masks, and ask you to do the same, to protect each other. Things have also changed in the hospital. You will see lots of masks there as well, and support people are limited to one per patient. This may change down the road; but for now, we want to be as safe as possible.
Dr. Jenna Ingersoll is a family medicine/obstetrics physician in Iron River and Ashland. To learn more about our prenatal services, visit nlccwi.org.