Establishing a primary care provider is beneficial for people of all ages. Providers develop relationships with their patients to aid preventative care and treatment. For many providers, their passion lies in caring for children from the very start.
The importance of prenatal care
For Julie Meyer, M.D., caring for expecting mothers and their children was her passion and the reason for pursuing a career in medicine. She has been practicing family medicine and delivering babies for 20 years. Having an extensive background in obstetrics has allowed her to provide expert care for her patients throughout their entire pregnancy.
Dr. Meyer works with her patients as early as possible. That often means before they conceive. She discussed the importance of taking prenatal vitamins and having a conversation about things to avoid while attempting to get pregnant. “We want the baby to have the safest environment possible,” said Dr. Meyer.
That care continues after conception to make sure there are no complications during pregnancy. This care includes:
- Watching for signs of gestational diabetes
- Monitoring weight gain
- Observing blood pressure to prevent preeclampsia or other metabolic problems
For Dr. Meyer, it’s important to develop a special bond with the mother. She takes pride in being a support system for the family as they embark on their pregnancy journey.
“One of my favorite parts of prenatal care is developing that special relationship and bond with the mother,” Dr. Meyer said. “Once the baby comes, there will be a lot of questions. I want them to be comfortable with me so they can call me and get their questions answered. No question is a stupid question when it comes to pregnancy or a newborn baby.”
At Tri-County Health Care, primary care providers plan to be there for their obstetric patients through every milestone. These include the planning stage, pregnancy, delivery, postnatal care, and beyond. When it’s time to deliver the baby, Dr. Meyer jumps into action. She puts a high value in being there for every moment. It’s very rare for her to miss a delivery.
The importance of well-child visits
One part of caring for newborns and children is monitoring their progress as they grow up. There are certain milestones providers are looking for to make sure proper development is occurring. The first year is detailed and frequent. There are 5 key milestones over the baby’s first 12 months.
“We want to make sure these babies are developing their muscles and coordination,” Dr. Meyer said. “We look to make sure they’re meeting their milestones like rolling over, sitting up, crawling and pulling to a stand along furniture. Then, ultimately walking, running, climbing and driving parents crazy because they’re so busy!”
Providers then monitor fine motor development. It involves making sure their coordination is working with their fingers so they can grasp food and feed themselves. Eating their food is followed by holding a pencil or crayon. Additionally, they focus on the child’s speech to make sure they’re starting to babble, make noises and ultimately begin talking.
Pre-teen and teen development milestones
The initial years of a child’s life involves several meetings with a provider to monitor growth. While appointments typically become less frequent as the child grows older, they are still essential. Part of ongoing well-child exams includes making sure the child is up to date on immunizations. It is also a good time to discuss with families if there are any other concerns.
These appointments also look for any developmental delay issues. It’s important to diagnose these problems early so those children can function better at school and more easily with adult life.
Dr. Meyer also monitors the child’s growth to determine if they are falling behind. That includes caring for children by checking their height and weight. It is a good indicator of any red flags like growth hormone deficiencies. Checking height and weight at these well-child exams can help prevent things like diabetes or pre-diabetes in their pre-teen and teenage years.
In addition to monitoring their progress, it’s exciting to develop relationships with these families. One thing Dr. Meyer enjoys is seeing children out in the community.
“It’s fun to watch them at sports activities and see them become leaders in the community,” she said. “It’s gratifying when I’m at the county fair or in the grocery store and have these kids come up and greet me.”
Primary Care at Tri-County Health Care
Dr. Meyer joined the team of primary care providers at Tri-County Health Care in January of 2020. She was named a Top-5 Finalist for the 2020 Family Physician of the Year by the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians. To learn more about Dr. Meyer and the primary care team at Tri-County Health Care, view their videos at TCHC.org/primarycare.
About Dr. Meyer:
Julie Meyer, M.D. graduated from Perham High School and completed medical school at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Meyer has always been interested in biology and even strongly considered veterinary medicine because of her love for animals. She ultimately chose family medicine because she enjoys talking to her patients and developing a strong connection. This is important to providing high-quality patient care.
Dr. Meyer and her husband, Mark, have three sons and live on a hobby farm with 40 rabbits, 15 sheep, 3 cats, and 2 dogs. The farm helps fulfill her passion of caring for animals. She enjoys volunteering in 4-H and helping her youngest son compete at various rabbit shows around the state. Other interests include singing in the church choir, accompanying various groups on the piano and flute, playing volleyball, working in her flower gardens, and traveling to state parks.