In October 2017, the UW Department of Family Medicine and Community Health (DFMCH) launched a new mother-baby teaching service at UnityPoint Health–Meriter that offers robust educational experiences for family medicine residents and a family medicine model of care for mothers and babies.

Mother-Baby Care from Admission to Discharge


DFMCH resident Caitlin Regner, MD, says that her experiences on the DFMCH’s new mother-baby teaching service at Meriter have solidified her desire to include obstetrics care in her future practice.

The service is designed for women with low-risk pregnancies who receive their prenatal care from family physicians who provide maternity care at Meriter. Those physicians include UW Health faculty and residents, as well as family physicians at other community health systems and practices.

A team of four Madison family medicine residents staff the service through three- to four-week block rotations. With supervision from an on-site DFMCH residency faculty member and/or a community family physician, they provide care for both mother and baby—from labor and delivery through postpartum and newborn care.

Madison residency program director Ildi Martonffy, MD, says this “dyad’ model builds on existing patient-doctor relationships, and can help enhance care coordination in the days following childbirth. “For example, some breastfeeding issues result in mother and baby both needing treatment at the same time, she explains. “In other cases, the family physician might already know that a new mother needs additional support at home due to social, economic or environmental circumstances.”

Cultivating Resident Interest in Obstetrics

Residents are closely paired with the same faculty member throughout their time on the service. Dr. Martonffy says that this strengthens the learner-teacher relationship and allows faculty to assess and develop residents’ skills in a stepwise fashion.

The service also provides greater opportunity for DFMCH residents to provide interdisciplinary care with the OB-GYN and pediatrics residents who also staff the unit.

One DFMCH resident who rotated on the service particularly appreciated the exposure to the many aspects of maternity care, and the chance to learn from family physicians in the community.

“My experiences on the Meriter mother-baby service solidified my desire to include obstetrics as a part of my family medicine practice in the future,” reflects second-year DFMCH resident Caitlin Regner, MD.

“It allows us to shine in an aspect of medicine we do particularly well: providing care for families and communities, recognizing that one individual’s health does not exist in a silo. It has expanded my knowledge about many common neonatal and postpartum issues so I can better support my patients through this joyful, challenging and vulnerable time in their care.”

Published: January 2018