This Doctor Still Makes House Calls: Shannon Voogt, a Family & Community Medicine Doctor, Also Can Deliver Babies

By Katie Saltz

voogtMost mothers learn they are pregnant and immediately seek out an obstetrician or maybe a midwife.

Dr. Shannon Voogt is neither of those things, but she does love delivering babies.

Voogt is a family and community medicine doctor in Lexington, an option many women don’t realize is available for prenatal care and childbirth.

A native of Germantown, Tennessee, Voogt attended Calvin College in Michigan and Michigan State University for medical school.

She completed her residency last year and was hired as an assistant professor of family and community medicine at the University of Kentucky.

She is also mom to 3-year-old Esther and 9-month-old Edith.

Voogt was drawn to family medicine because she realized she could see a “full spectrum” of patients.

She is not limited to one age group or type of patient, so pregnant women are just one part of her day.

“Part of the reason we can provide what we do is because we don’t have as much volume of patients, we can do that individualized care,” she said.

“I love getting to see my pregnant patients. It’s a nice break in the day.”

Using a family medicine doctor for prenatal care and childbirth is an uncommon option in cities like Lexington.

Voogt said rural areas see the practice more often, in places where physicians often care for a patient from childhood through the life span.

Voogt believes one advantage of a family medicine doctor caring for a woman in her pregnancy is the ability to know the patient before the pregnancy and continue the care long after childbirth is over.

Family medicine doctors can provide prenatal care such as routine check-ups and ultrasounds for low-risk pregnancies, assist in delivery and follow up with mom and baby for post-partum care.

Voogt even makes house calls for newborn patients.

“Home visits for newborns are a wonderful way for me to connect with patients and to help moms during a time that, though exciting, can also be exhausting,” she said.

“I can help them with breastfeeding, check in on the whole family, and give guidance in a more relaxing and comfortable atmosphere compared to a busy clinic.

“It doesn’t always work out for me to do home visits, but when it does, I always enjoy it and it seems like the moms enjoy it, too.”

A low-risk pregnancy is the best fit for family medicine, since pregnancy complica-tions may need procedures requiring an obste-trician.

For high-risk pregnan-cies, Voogt said, she would consult with an OB because family medicine doctors can’t perform C-Sections if they become necessary.

“We always have the backup of an OB if we need it,” she said.

“Some people are more comfortable having an OB who can perform C-Sections and I totally understand that.”

Voogt realizes the pros and cons to all types of care providers for a woman during pregnancy.

Women should evaluate their own personal needs and then follow their instincts, she said.

“The important thing is finding someone you can have a good, trusting relationship with, whether you find that in a midwife you really like, or an OB or family medicine,” she said.

“That is really important to have that trust.”

In her job at UK, Voogt works with the residents at the hospital.

It’s refreshing to see how excited they get when delivering babies, she said.

Although it’s not commonplace yet, she believes family medicine doctors will remain a valuable resource for pregnancy care.

“I would like (family medicine doctors) to remain an option, even if it’s not the most common option,” she said.

“We are in the mix and we definitely have something to offer.

“Just being aware that it is an option is the most important thing to all of our patients.”