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Not your mother's maternity experience

November 19, 2019

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Dr. Chelsea Marks consults with another WellSpan OB/GYN physician, Dr. Charles Marks, who also happens to be her father.

Dr. Chelsea Marks consults with another WellSpan OB/GYN physician, Dr. Charles Marks, who also happens to be her father.

Chances are your mother’s labor and delivery did not include dancing to a choreographed video with nurses, doctors and hospital staff. But WellSpan is helping maternity patients better manage pain during labor with a “labor dance” video. It’s just one of the tools the health system has available to meet the needs of today’s pregnant patients.

“Patients today are seeking to make their birth experience unique, and WellSpan Health works closely with each OB/GYN patient to accommodate that desire,” says Chelsea Marks, DO, of WellSpan OB/GYN in Gettysburg.

In addition to four physicians, the staff includes four certified nurse midwives (CNMs) who joined the practice in January. 

“CNMs play a very important role in all aspects of pregnancy,” Dr. Marks says. “The midwives see our patients from their initial OB visit up through the postpartum period. During labor and the birthing process, they provide a ‘low intervention, high touch’ experience, and they often assist in surgery if their patient ends up needing a caesarean section. Our patients love having them as part of the team.

“Our providers want our patients to have a voice and experience a safe, healthy and fun birth. We’re a smaller practice, and most of our patients meet all our providers before delivery, so they never feel like a stranger,” she adds.

Among the physicians in the Gettysburg practice is Charles Marks, DO, who’s the father of Dr. Chelsea Marks. Her inspiration to join the profession actually was her great-grandfather, who was a family physician.

“Working with my dad brings me a great deal of joy, and there’s been only a rare father/daughter disagreement,” she says. “Even in the middle of the night, we call each other to discuss complicated cases or show up to help each other with a difficult delivery.

“I feel fortunate to learn from his experience and his love for his patients,” Dr. Marks adds. “But I have to recognize all of my colleagues, OB/GYNs and midwives, as well as our nurses and clinicians. We truly have an incredible group of individuals, and I couldn’t ask for a better practice.”

Help From Technology

MyWellSpan offers access to your health records from all WellSpan providers on your smartphone, tablet or personal computer. 

Specifically for maternity patients, there’s BabyscriptsTM, an app that guides expectant mothers through each stage of pregnancy. Patients can even track their weight and glucose levels, and those who are considered low risk can use the app to take home blood pressure measurements and safely monitor their pregnancy.

“This allows our mothers to lessen the amount of doctor and/or midwife visits they attend, which keeps them from missing work or other important events,” Dr. Marks notes, estimating that about 25 percent of the practice’s patients currently use the app.

A low-tech tool that both patients and practitioners alike find beneficial is My Birth Plan. This simple form, which can be obtained at the OB/GYN office, allows each patient to customize her birthing experience.

“My Birth Plan helps us understand from the office to the maternity department what the patient would like to occur,” Dr. Marks says. “It also allows for great conversation between the patient and the provider in terms of preferences they have or questions they didn’t previously consider.”

With My Birth Plan patients can spell out everything from where they would like to deliver their baby and who may be present in the room to the types of pain management medications and techniques they prefer to use.

My Birth Plan is available from your WellSpan OB/GYN office.


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