Every baby deserves a healthy mother for the long term.
The Women’s Health Council of RI recommends recasting women’s health from a focus on conception to long-term comprehensive care regardless of child-bearing status.
The leading cause of death for women is heart disease, yet most provider and payor focus remains on breast and gynecological health.
Symptoms experienced during pregnancy serve as a window into long-term health risks like heart disease, COPD, obesity and diabetes.
Early awareness for both provider and patient can help change behaviors and start preventive care early across a wide range of women’s health issues.
Link obstetric care to on-going primary care.
Encourage providers to train across disciplines and systems. Include obstetrics in the medical homes model.
Improve communication between the various health care disciplines.
Recognize the early signs of risk from pregnancy health results such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes, and environmental issues like smoking, poverty and domestic violence. Include these notes in patient’s files when transferring from OB-GYN to PCP.
Recommend a PCP visit one year following pregnancy.
Obesity continues in large part because all the systems – healthcare, education, food distribution and physical locations – conspire to make the healthy choice the most effortful.
Violence against women continues because it is ages old, on-going, systematic and often culturally sanctioned.
When obstetric results are not linked across disciplines through primary care, women’s future risks for diabetes, obesity, depression, hypertension and heart disease are ignored and care opportunities missed.
And when the aggressive marketing tactics of tobacco companies are combined with the addictive nature of nicotine, simply suggesting a patient quit their lethal habit is seldom enough.
Research shows that focusing on numbers and spending millions of dollars on health education has not created change. Rather than publishing papers and articles, focusing on behavioral tactics bring results because they:
Today, New Policies developed by Council members and presenters are improving the availability of health care, improving the presence of healthy food, limiting the reach of tobacco, and de-stigmatizing domestic violence so it is no longer hidden.
In the Clinical Care setting, New Tools provide screening language, data and procedures that help providers create an environment in which their patients may make better choices.
On-going Education via Events for providers includes data and statistics, but also teaches the language that establishes trust with patients while screening, creates and takes advantage of teachable moments and helps patients choose behavioral change.
Pregnancy as a Window to Future Health: Karen Rosene-Montella, MD – Detailed data on the kinds of pregnancy complications that can impact women’s future health.