This Sunday, Kana Takano celebrates her first Mother’s Day.
On April 27, the 29-year-old became a mom with the birth of her 8-pound, 2-ounces daughter, Sakurako, at St. Paul’s Hospital. The name, “little cherry blossom” in Japanese, was inspired by the tree outside Kana’s hospital window.
The child is the happy result of a challenging pregnancy that was expertly taken care of at a new maternity clinic at St. Paul’s.
Kana arrived in Canada only three months ago from Tokyo with her husband Masa. She had previously studied English in Vancouver for several years, then returned to Japan. When she arrived in Vancouver this time, she was six months pregnant – but without a family doctor.
She phoned around and learned of the new clinic within St. Paul’s. It’s for low- or moderate-risk patients who get care during pregnancy and the birth at the hospital and up to six weeks after birth.
Kana says her clinic experience was “awesome” and eased the stress of being pregnant in a different country. Adding to the stress was that her baby was breech.
She was taken to another floor in St. Paul’s to have the child repositioned, a procedure performed by an obstetrician under careful monitoring.
Being a patient in the clinic within a full-service hospital means access to specialty care and equipment – such as those needed for the breech issue – under the same roof, say Dr. Donna McLachlan and Dr. Ashley Smith, the two family physicians who spearheaded the clinic with PHC’s Maternity Program.
Patients get excellent pre-, peri- and post-partum care, plus care with any non-obstetrical issues should they arise. “That is the advantage of having the clinic within a full-service hospital,” said Dr. McLachlan.
The clinic provides an unmet need for women who lack a family physician and may have trouble receiving continuous care during their pregnancy, she said.
Added Dr. Smith: “Others who benefit include expectant women struggling with substance use or who are in psychiatric care at the hospital.”
Women can self-refer. The clinic helps women transition back to their community doctor after the birth or helps them find a family doctor if they’re without one.
The family physicians join the team of obstetrician/gynecologists, midwives, pediatricians and staff at St. Paul’s.
For Kana and Masa, Sunday will be a time to cherish their new little arrival – in between diaper changes, of course.