Family Doctors Build Life-Long Relationships Through Obstetrical Services

The family doctors at ThedaCare Physicians-New London are building relationships with patients that last a lifetime.

The doctors get to see it all – from obstetrics to well-child visits to adult and elderly care. “I like the relationships I develop with my patients,” said Timothy Houlihan, MD, noting that getting to know the patients and their backgrounds and histories is “an important part of the practice.”

Michael Fetterolf, MD, agreed, adding that family medicine often includes caring for the “whole package deal:” baby, mom, dad, siblings, even grandparents. “I think that’s the big advantage,” he said. “It completes the circle.”

The circle could start with obstetrics, when a woman comes in for a pre-conception consultation or to start prenatal visits. ThedaCare Physicians-New London offers five family doctors who also provide obstetrical services, including Cesarean deliveries.

Being the patient’s family doctor adds a close connection to a patient when care moves into the obstetrical side of things. “I have a handful of obstetric patients who I know very well,” said Subha Rajan, MD. “It’s not just another pregnant woman. You see the obstetric patients more often and develop a relationship with them and their family.”

Joseph Lamb, MD, agreed, noting that the obstetric side of family medicine is one of the fun aspects. “You see usually healthy people and usually healthy babies,” he said. “It’s a joyous occasion. You get to celebrate the birth of a baby. It’s just a privilege to be involved in the whole process. It’s neat to see the families grow and see them afterward.”

The doctors provide a quality of care to the moms, and their babies, during prenatal visits in the months before delivery. “You get to know the patients during the nine months,” said Dr. Houlihan. “It’s fun to take care of the patients. It’s exciting to be part of their care, help them feel at ease and not overly worried or concerned.”

Dr. Rajan emphasizes the need for prenatal visits, which allow doctors to closely monitor the growth and progress of the developing baby as well as keep an eye on the mother’s health through testing. “They only have 40 weeks to bring a healthy baby into the world,” she said. “The obstetric appointments are scheduled in such a way that specific points are covered each visit.”

Patients deliver in the state-of-the-art birthing center at New London Family Medical Center, which features spacious suites with whirlpool tubs and individualized care. “It’s really personal,” said Cheryl Seelig, practice administrator. “You’re going to get that same nurse time and time again. The staff is going to get to know you and your family. You’re going to get that personalized care, which is great.”

For the family doctors, the whole experience is great, from prenatal visits to delivery to caring for baby and the rest of the family afterward. “It’s happy medicine as opposed to chronic problems or things that you can’t fix,” said Dr. Fetterolf.