While the new health care proposal set to replace the Affordable Care Act is stripping down services for women and making health care even more expensive for those that need it most, Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center is expanding and improving its services for women.

On May 12 the clinic will hold an open house and ribbon-cutting to celebrate the first Virginia Garcia Women’s Clinic. Focusing primarily on OB care, the clinic will also offer traditional women’s services as well as family planning, newborn checkups and specialty OB services for high-risk pregnancies. The doors will officially open to patients on May 15.

Virginia Garcia understands the challenges new moms face during pregnancy. The women’s services currently offered at the Hillsboro Clinic strive to address these obstacles, but space is at a premium.

“Our biggest challenge right now, is space.” said Monica Arce, CNM, IBCLC, lead clinician for the new Women’s Clinic. “We have 245 OB patients, but we don’t have the space to offer all the programs and services they need during their pregnancy. The new clinic will provide us with that space and allow us to not only enhance the programs we currently offer, but also expand services that we currently are referring out to other clinics.”

One of the hallmarks of the OB program is CenteringPregnancy®, which will continue and expand at the new Women’s Clinic.

Expectant families like Elisa and Juan know how important a group like CenteringPregnancy® can be.

The couple lost their first baby to miscarriage and were worried it would happen again. Inundated with advice and age-old traditions from family and friends, they took the suggestion of Elisa’s Virginia Garcia OB doctor and joined a CenteringPregnancy® group at the Hillsboro Clinic.

CenteringPregnancy® is a program designed to reduce the percentage of babies born prematurely and underweight and to build healthy habits, such as breastfeeding, for new mothers. Babies born too early and underweight can arrive with a litany of health complications, such as birth defects and heart and lung problems. Through the program, Virginia Garcia staff guide group discussions and activities with 8-10 pregnant women to address their concerns and fears about discomfort, stress, labor and delivery, among other topics. The program also uses the women’s shared experiences to help teach healthy prenatal and post-partum habits.

“The (midwife) calmed our fears, explaining what was dangerous and what was not,” Elisa said through an interpreter.

“The Women’s Clinic will foster a healthy community by concentrating on women as the heart and soul of the family and the home,” Arce said. “Babies will be given the strongest start, and as the number of pregnant women we serve increases, we will see more groups, more community and more healthy starts to life for the next generation of Oregonians.”

Virginia Garcia Women’s Clinic will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house on Friday, May 12 at the new clinic site. Press is welcome. Please contact Kasi Woidyla for details or to arrange a private tour in advance of the May 12th ceremony.