Hamilton Network's 'Nine Month Club' offers online support for expectant mothers

FLINT, Michigan — Motherhood is one of the toughest jobs out there but for local Flint residents, Hamilton Community Health Network aims to lend a helping hand in their service for moms and their babies. In February, the health care provider launched a Facebook group named Nine Month Club which shares tips and support on pre-pregnancy, what to expect while you’re expecting, and advice for when your newborn arrives. Obstetrics (OB) staff and other medical personnel post in the group, provide resources and answer questions from group member inquiries. 

Becoming a mother evokes a huge daily change in a person’s life which can be overwhelming without a support network. The goal of the online group is to lessen the heavy burden that being a mom can bring, and provide support for those who may be feeling isolated, or overwhelmed by postpartum depression or anxiety. 

Every fourth Wednesday of the month from 2 to 3 p.m, the page hosts a virtual discussion on how to manage pregnancy. Advice from Hamilton staff, providers, and local experts is administered as well as gift card and goodie bag giveaways, games and more.

The new Facebook group is just another extension of the personalized level of care Hamilton provides for local residents in their various health journeys.

Dr. Larry J. Young, MD, has been at Hamilton Community Health Network during his tenure at Hurley for about 25 years. He is now exclusively at Hamilton full-time leading the obstetrics and gynecology services. He states that the entire Hamilton network — which includes over 40 providers across eight clinics — aims to provide comprehensive healthcare services for people, regardless of their ability to pay.
Dr. Larry J. Young, MD.
Within the OB services area, Hamilton provides pregnancy care and addresses health issues that impact women in terms of their gynecological health, counseling, prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care. Dr. Young says it’s important for the health network to not only care for mothers and babies in the womb but also after they’re born and create healthy lifestyles for years to come. 

Locally, Flint is experiencing high infant mortality rates which Dr. Young says is common in urban communities across the nation. “Because of lack of access to care, diet, issues of hypertension and diabetes, which we find especially in the African American community, we do obtain those statistics and submit those to the state of Michigan. We do a review of those every three months and then apply standards to try to address issues that can be changed or modified to improve those statistics; things like early prenatal care, diet management, substance abuse, and family interventions to address the social issues that impact pregnancies as well.”

For first-time mothers, Dr. Young says the network’s support system provides a fully comprehensive level of care throughout the entire pregnancy, and beyond. All patients undergo an evaluation to get family history, dynamics, support systems, and medical history. From there, obstetricians can refer patients to mental health services or to high-risk medical pregnancy services at Hurley Medical Center. 

“We have three obstetricians and we are all from Flint,” Dr. Young says. “We all trained at Hurley Medical Center and we have a great deal of trust and insight into the specific factors that may be affecting our mothers during pregnancy in regards to social health as well as mental health.”

Dr. Young says working together, Hurley and Hamilton act as co-managers of each patient’s pregnancy. “Working with Hurley, we partner in maternal-fetal medicine who manages and treats high-risk pregnancy conditions such as uncontrolled blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, any abnormalities in the baby’s development or growth,” he says.

“We know that child and adult health is really influenced a great deal by the health the mother has in utero or before they are born,” he explains further. “Substance abuse, lack of family or support by the baby’s father, homelessness, or an unhealthy home environment can have a negative impact on the baby as well. Dr. Young says that having a well-rounded program addressing physical/medical issues as well as social issues is crucial. “All of these issues affect the mother which secondarily affects the growth and development of the baby as well.”

Even after the baby is born, he says their care doesn’t stop there. “We do have pediatricians after the baby is born who continue their care through Hamilton Health Network.”

Hamilton's staff prides itself on making healthcare easy and accessible regardless of income barriers. Dr. Young says the first step in securing a healthy lifestyle for mother and baby is making the phone call. “We have three offices in the Flint area so access to care is something that is very straightforward and should be very simple. They will direct you to the department, schedule an interview, and after obtaining history, they will be assigned to an obstetrician.”

“We pride ourselves in our ability to see patients very quickly after they’ve called and set up an appointment so we can initiate that care,” he says. “We can have positive outcomes by evaluation and treatment through the beginning, middle, and end of pregnancy. We do follow-up postpartum visits as well for contraception care.” 

Find the Nine Month Club on Facebook. And for more information on Hamilton Community Health Network, visit: hamiltonchn.org

Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.