SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Stephanie Eardley’s first pregnancy involved a lot of driving as she and her husband, Cody, live on a ranch outside of Mountain View, where the nearest hospital is 45 minutes away.
Even further away was Eardley’s preferred doctor at University of Utah Health in Salt Lake City – two plus hours away. Over the course of her pregnancy she and Cody made the drive dozens of times. “We would spend over five hours of driving for a 25-minute visit. It was so stressful,” she said.
Eardley recently gave birth to her second child from the comfort of her own home but still had accessed her OBGYN at U of U Health through a program called Virtual Prenatal Care, which is a new program though the University of Utah Hospital.
When Eardley found out she was pregnant with her second child, she expected the driving to resume – until her doctor told her about the Virtual Prenatal Care program. It allows mothers to receive prenatal care from the comfort of their preferred location (e.g. at home or work) from their OBGYN through an app.
Not only would the family avoid any unnecessary travel, they wouldn’t have to face the other challenges involved like coordinating schedules to take time off of work, bad weather, trying to entertain a toddler in the confined space of a truck, and for Stephanie, dealing with the discomfort of driving while being pregnant.
Through the Virtual Prenatal Care Program, Eardley received the same quality care without leaving her house, scheduling visits when it was most convenient for her and her family.
“I had the doctor I wanted, from the place I wanted and I didn’t have to drive down to Salt Lake City. It was the perfect setup for my family,” Eardley said recently.
Eardley never felt like the prenatal care for her second baby was compromised, “I could always email them or ask questions if I needed anything,” Eardley said. “I felt like the care was just as good as my first pregnancy, if not better.”
Cory Eardley was also very grateful for the program. “It was nice not having to come down to Salt Lake City all the time,” he said. “I didn’t have to take days off work. it’s a long drive, the weather doesn’t always cooperate, we get home late and we have to find a babysitter or torture my 4-year-old on the highway he calls the interstate.”