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When should I schedule my first visit?
Your first step at Oula should start with our virtual “Initial Patient Intake” visit, which can happen any time in your pregnancy. We’ll complete the intake process, and you can ensure Oula is where you want to be. We’ll also use this time to ensure your pregnancy is a fit for our practice. It’s very important you complete your intake form ahead of time as well, and look out for messages or phone calls from Oula.
The best time for your first in-person visit is after 10 weeks, when ultrasounds and genetic screening bloodwork are both possible. If you’re anxious to get an early ultrasound, it is possible to do so after 7 weeks.
Transferring to us in your 2nd or 3rd trimester? Please contact our office to discuss your circumstances first.
What is the difference between Oula and a regular OBs office?
At Oula, we combine the best of obstetrics and midwifery care. We view pregnancy and birth as natural physiological processes, and only use medical interventions such as c-sections when absolutely necessary. This means you’ll have OBs and Midwives as part of your care team, who are focused on leading with evidence, equipping you with the right information, and trusting you to know your body best. We’re also built with your convenience in mind, providing options for virtual visits, remote monitoring, and high-touch communication. Through the Oula portal, you can book your appointments, track your progress, and make informed decisions about your preferences.
What are the credentials of Oula’s clinical team?
Oula uses a collaborative care model, which means that we leverage both obstetricians and midwives. Our obstetricians follow a traditional M.D. or D.O. training pathway, with four years of medical school and four years of residency. Our midwives follow a certified nurse midwife (CNM) training pathway, which starts with the training to be a registered nurse, and then they complete a graduate program in midwifery, which includes 500-1,000 hours of clinical practice. Both OBGYNs and CNMs are required to pass national certification exams.
Are all pregnancies a fit for Oula?
Oula is based on a “collaborative care model,” which means midwives will be leading much of the care with OBGYNs overseeing certain complications and performing any necessary surgeries.
That said, some medical histories or pregnancies would benefit from more specialized care than we offer at Oula. It’s a good idea to check in with us if you’ve had prior complicated pregnancies or are actively managing any ongoing chronic conditions. Note that we are happy to accept VBAC pregnancies at Oula.
How did you choose Mt Sinai West hospital for deliveries?
There are lots of reasons we are excited for Oula births to take place at Mt Sinai West. One of the most popular birth centers in NYC history used to be based within Mt Sinai West. Although it is now closed, the hospital is committed to policies, procedures, and even a culture, that allow low-risk patients to be cared for in a similar way. For example, allowing intermittent monitoring, offering hydrotherapy (tubs!), nitrous oxide, and other alternatives for pain management, etc.
Additionally, we think it’s really important that all the other providers you may engage with while in the hospital (OBs who help with emergencies, Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists who care for high-risk patients, etc), are aligned with the benefits of midwifery care and enthusiastic about collaborating. Mt Sinai West has a long history of doing that. And an added bonus: the majority of our current and upcoming clinical hires have already worked at Mt Sinai West and are very familiar with how to navigate it.
In the coming year, we are looking forward to opening our own nearby birth center to provide an option for those looking for a safe option outside of the hospital, but we will continue to offer the option of birthing at the hospital. It’s your choice!
What makes Oula’s clinical space special?
We’re incredibly proud of the clinic space we’ve created. It was designed to be warm, welcoming, and tailor-made for the pregnancy experience. Our clinic includes a library of our favorite pregnancy books for you to peruse while you’re waiting, exercise balls for comfortable pelvic alignment while sitting, a hydration station with water and herbal teas, a toy box for any infants tagging along, and even aromatherapy scents that are selected to minimize nausea. We used curved, natural materials, and soft lighting, to create a clinical space we actually want to spend time in.
If I already have an OBGYN, can I still use Oula?
If you’d like to transition your care to Oula during your pregnancy, we are happy to work with your existing providers to get access to your existing medical records. If you’d like to complete your pregnancy outside of Oula, you’re still welcome to use any of our virtual coaching visits, as well as use our app to help guide the key decisions in your journey.
Which insurance does Oula accept?
We are in-network with many of the plans from the below carriers. Note that each insurance company has dozens of plans, so we’ll need to verify the eligibility of your exact plan.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield / Anthem
- Emblem GHI
- United Healthcare
Medicaid Managed Care
- United Healthcare’s Community Plan
For labor & delivery, we recommending verifying with your health plan that that Mount Sinai West (NPI# 1104982917) is an in-network hospital. Many health plans have it listed in their system by an old name (Mount Sinai St Lukes and Roosevelt).
Note: If your insurance company is not listed above, feel free to reach out to us directly to check the status as we are currently contracting with additional health plans in New York. You can reach us at 718-400-8339 or email@example.com
How does pregnancy insurance coverage work?
Pregnancy care is covered by most insurance plans. However, out-of-pocket costs (or the portion that is not covered by insurance) varies depending on your plan and benefit package. Generally coverage and out of pocket costs fall into these categories:
- Prenatal & postpartum visits (billed by Oula)
- Routine testing, genetic screening, outside ultrasounds (billed by the lab or imaging center)
- Delivery (billed partially by Oula and partially by the hospital)
- Other common ancillary services (billed by that service provider)
How much will I pay out-of-pocket?
Like most things in healthcare, the answer is unfortunately “it depends”, based on your individual insurance plan. Below we have a set of questions to ask your insurance plan to clarify your benefits for prenatal care. We are happy to talk you through these questions and the answers you get back from your health plan:
- What are my annual in-network deductibles?
- How much of my in-network deductible have I met so far this year?
- Is the deductible based on a calendar year? If not, when does it start and end?
- Does my deductible count towards my out-of-pocket max?
- What is my co-insurance rate for in-network coverage?
- What is my individual out of pocket maximum for in-network coverage?
- Does my plan cover midwives?
- I plan to deliver at Mount Sinai West, can you confirm that this facility is in-network? The NPI for the facility is 1104982917
When do you bill my insurance?
While it can vary by health plan, typically we bill your insurance company:
- For the first visit
- For the “global” bill after your delivery which covers all the prenatal visits, except the first visit, the labor & delivery, and a postpartum visit
- For any visits, tests, ultrasounds, procedures that occur during prenatal care that aren’t considered part of the “global” bill.
Are extra services like nutrition covered by insurance?
For appointments outside of traditional clinical care such as nutrition, lactation consulting, the cost of these will depend on your specific insurance plan. You also can pay out-of-pocket, with sliding scale options for those in need.
Can you help me understand my insurance coverage?
Yes! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we are happy to help.
What is a midwife (CNM)?
Midwives are licensed health care professionals that are trained to provide expert nonsurgical care to women from puberty to menopause. This includes pregnancy, from prenatal care to delivery and neonatal care. While a midwife’s experience and area of expertise is in low-risk pregnancies, they are trained to identify complications and work with obstetricians in emergency situations. For most birthing parents, their pregnancy is low-risk and can be led by a midwife.
How does maternity care work at Oula?
It is standard to have monthly visits starting around week 10, that move to bi-weekly, and then finally weekly leading up to your due date. At Oula, we are happy to see you as early as you want, and we also offer virtual preconception coaching. A handful of your prenatal visits will also be virtual, and we will equip you with a kit to monitor remotely, such as a blood pressure cuff and urine sticks.
Do I need to live near the hospital?
It’s very common for people to wonder about the optimal distance between their home and the hospital! We can tell you that patients come to Mt Sinai West from all 5 boroughs (and even New Jersey and Westchester!) to have their babies.
When your contractions begin, you’ll give us a call, and we’ll decide together when it’s time to leave for the hospital. Most of the time we’ll encourage you to stay home for a while longer, and we’ll be in constant contact about how you’re feeling and the timing of your contractions. We’ll also take into account where you are coming from, and how you will be getting to the hospital, to ensure you aren’t cutting it close.
We should also note that, especially for first time moms, labor often lasts many hours! Despite what the movies may have us think, labor very rarely involves a “rush to the hospital.” As long as you call us right at the beginning, we’ll be able to coach you through the right timing.
If I have a midwife, do I still need a doula?
We love doulas at Oula, and our name is actually a nod toward their wonderful care and proven results. A doula is a non-medical member of the birth team that provides continuous emotional and physical support, from when your labor begins at-home until you’re back at home with your baby. While OBs and midwives make medical decisions and deliver your baby, doulas serve as a coach, advocate, and resource. This continuous support is an evidence-based method of reducing c-section and other intervention rates throughout the course of labor. Many doulas have particular expertise in pain coping techniques, including comforting touch and massage, breathing and meditation, and acupressure. You can find doulas in a wide range of budgets, some with sliding scale fees, and we’re happy to help match you. Read more about doulas on our blog.
How does Oula coordinate my care?
Pregnancy and birth are more than just medical experiences – they also involve your mental health, nutrition, pelvic floor health, and desires to breastfeed. At Oula, we’ll help you navigate amongst the various supportive providers and help you decide what’s best for you, as well as help match you with providers in our network. For some services, like nutrition and lactation counseling, we have Oula providers who can directly coordinate with your midwife and doctor.
What types of pain management do you offer? Can I get an epidural?
Yes! Birth can be painful, but we can help you build a toolkit to avoid suffering, and reduce or relieve your pain. We’re judgement-free about whether you’d prefer to be medicated or unmedicated, and you’re also welcome to change your mind! In the hospital, you will have the option of 3 types of medicated pain relief: Epidural, Nitrous Oxide, and IV narcotics such as Morphine or Stadol. It’s important to chat through the pros and cons of these options with your care team. If you’d prefer an unmedicated birth, your midwife and doula (if you have one) can guide you through breathwork, acupressure and massage, and you may even have a birthing ball and warm tub available as well. Even if you plan to have an epidural in labor, you will likely experience some pain, so it is important to plan non-medicated support and comfort measures as well.
Can I bring a support person into my appointments?
Yes! We are excited to be able to buck the trend and offer this to you, even during the pandemic. You will both get your temperatures checked, and masks are required for everyone. We have spaced appointment slots sufficiently so that there should never be one pair of people in the waiting room at a time.