What is a perinatal care navigator? A Q&A with staff member Paige Pinyerd

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Sophia Guida

What is a perinatal care navigator? A Q&A with staff member Paige Pinyerd

March 31, 2023

Paige Pinyerd, one of the Institute’s perinatal care navigators, works with patients who are pregnant or have just given birth. She spoke with us about how she helps patients get the most out of their pregnancy care and birth experiences.

Tell us more about your role. What types of things do you do for pregnant people and parents of newborns?

PP: I am one of a team of perinatal care navigators at the Institute who provide support to patients who are pregnant or have just given birth. In my four years in this role, I have helped patients through almost 400 pregnancies.

For pregnant patients, I am a part of every provider visit and I am their advocate through the entire pregnancy, as well as after. I address any questions or issues the patient may have: everything from helping the patient get transportation to their appointments to accessing benefits and programs. I also run our CenteringPregnancy groups, which allow pregnant patients to connect in a group setting and get to know the provider who will be delivering. In addition, I help develop birth plans, provide lactation consulting, and help the patient get any additional care they need, such as mental health support.

What kinds of barriers do you see new parents face, and how do you and your team help overcome them?

PP: I think the biggest help I give is that I can help them navigate the perinatal care system in New York City. I try to help them build trust with the provider and make sure that the patients are heard. If we need to go over something more than once, we can.

Can you give me an example?

PP: I had one breastfeeding patient recently tell me that she felt confident that she understood her choices laid out by her provider, and once she made her choice, everything happened as the provider said it would. I don’t ever want my patients to go into any stage of their care and not know what to expect. I want them to feel like they can make their own choices and know what to expect.

Something I always say to patients is, “you know your body and your baby better than anyone,” so don’t be afraid to let us know if you have any concerns.

Next month is Black Maternal Health Week. Can you tell us more about that and why it’s important to acknowledge?

PP: I think every week should be Black Maternal Health Week. Black birthing people face so much in order to give birth, and these issues that they face are not connected to their individual choices, but are rooted in the systems that uphold white supremacy. I can only speak for myself, but I do my best to show up and advocate for each patient’s needs.

What advice do you have for pregnant people or new parents who may want additional support from their health care providers?

PP: My advice is to make the most of your appointment by asking all of the questions you have. Even if your provider looks busy, make them take the time to go through all of your concerns. I like to remind people that this might be your first baby, but this is the provider’s 100th baby. Take your time and advocate—we are all here to support you.

Pregnant and looking for more support? Ask your provider about our perinatal care navigation program.