Joy and fear … excitement and worry … the road to parenthood is filled with emotional peaks and valleys.

Kaiser Permanente (No.1 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) members are in good hands when they take that journey, thanks to an integrated care system that allows doctors and nurses to work together to keep them healthy and safe while delivering care that's personalized to their needs.

"We deliver more than 100,000 babies a year, yet we recognize that each family's experience is unique," said Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Patrick Courneya, MD. "We strive to meet their needs every step of the way — from the point when they first start thinking about having a baby to delivery and beyond."

Members seeking maternity care experience the best of Kaiser Permanente's coordinated approach:

- Mothers and babies receive care from highly skilled care teams including obstetricians, neonatologists, anesthesiologists, midwives, nurses, pediatricians, social workers and lactation consultants.

- Our integrated care system and electronic health record enable us to provide high-quality, coordinated care before, during and after the birth of a child.

- Prenatal classes help moms and dads prepare for every aspect of parenting — from pregnancy and childbirth to breastfeeding and infant care.

- More than 70 percent of babies born at Kaiser Permanente are exclusively breastfed while in the hospital, compared to 49 percent nationwide, according to America's Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety, The Joint Commission's Annual Report 2015. That's one of the best things moms can do to keep their babies healthy.

- Fifteen of our hospitals and eight of our affiliated hospitals have earned Baby-Friendly designation from the global Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.

"Our highly skilled clinical teams work to ensure the best possible experience and outcome for the baby and mother," said Michael Kanter, MD, chief quality officer for the Permanente Federation. "We work proactively to deliver the safest and most reliable care, and when needed, we have the expertise and systems in place to respond quickly to urgent situations."

We speak baby

The newest television ad in the Thrive advertising campaign captures the parenthood journey at Kaiser Permanente. Named "Rob & Carol," the commercial follows a first-time mom and dad as they encounter everything from sonograms to breast pumps — and finally cradle their newborn child. The ad debuts today and will air in both English and Spanish.

Watch Spanish version »

Check out our Care Stories blog to watch a video about one mom's birth experience, and visit our maternity care website at to learn more about having a baby at Kaiser Permanente. It features articles, videos, checklists and other resources to guide families through every stage of this life-changing journey.

Kaiser Permanente: It's Men's Health Month

A look at the top health threats that face men, prevention tips and how to get additional help.

Originally Published by Kaiser Permanente.

As we celebrate Men's Health Month, it's important to stay aware of the most pressing health problems the men close to you may face, and to encourage early detection of these problems.

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Reducing Opioids Not Associated with Lower Patient Satisfaction Scores, Kaiser Permanente Study Finds

Opioid use has been a major health concern in the U.S. Opioid use increased in the United States by 300 percent from 1997 to 2010, and overdose deaths increased 200 percent from 2000 to 2014.

Originally Published by Kaiser Permanente.

A Kaiser Permanente study of nearly 2,500 patients who used high doses of opioids for at least six months showed that reducing their opioid use did not lower their satisfaction with care. The study, "Satisfaction With Care After Reducing Opioids for Chronic Pain," was published today in The American Journal of Managed Care.

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Serena Williams on Postpartum Depression: 'It's a Part of Pregnancy'

After almost dying when giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia, Williams is open about the struggle and triumphs of motherhood.


Serena Williams is currently making her comeback at the French Open after giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia, nine months ago. With motherhood, Williams has become an advocate for women's health by sharing intimate details of her personal life including her struggle with postpartum depression.

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Five Questions with Dr. Ronald Copeland of Kaiser Permanente on Addressing Mental Health in the Workplace

Depression and other mental health conditions are a leading cause of workplace disability in the form of lost productivity because of how common they are–1 out of every 5 people are suffering from a mental health condition at any given time–and because they tend to occur when people are young.

Originally Published by National Organization on Disability.

Kaiser Permanente's focus on reducing mental health stigma for consumers and members also applies to its own employees. The National Organization on Disability caught up with Ron Copeland, MD, to understand how to best create a supportive and inclusive workplace for people who are experiencing a mental health condition.

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Kaiser Permanente Researchers Develop New Models for Predicting Suicide Risk

Approach may offer value to health systems and clinicians in targeting interventions to prevent suicide

Originally Published by Kaiser Permanente.

Combining data from electronic health records with results from standardized depression questionnaires better predicts suicide risk in the 90 days following either mental health specialty or primary care outpatient visits, reports a team from the Mental Health Research Network, led by Kaiser Permanente research scientists.

The study, "Predicting Suicide Attempts and Suicide Death Following Outpatient Visits Using Electronic Health Records," conducted in five Kaiser Permanente regions (Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, California and Washington), the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, and the HealthPartners Institute in Minneapolis, was published today in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Combining a variety of information from the past five years of people's electronic health records and answers to questionnaires, the new models predicted suicide risk more accurately than before, according to the authors. The strongest predictors include prior suicide attempts, mental health and substance use diagnoses, medical diagnoses, psychiatric medications dispensed, inpatient or emergency room care, and scores on a standardized depression questionnaire.

Dr. Simon shares what inspired him to study mental health.

"We demonstrated that we can use electronic health record data in combination with other tools to accurately identify people at high risk for suicide attempt or suicide death," said first author Gregory E. Simon, MD, MPH, a Kaiser Permanente psychiatrist in Washington and a senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute.

In the 90 days following an office visit:

  • Suicide attempts and deaths among patients whose visits were in the highest 1 percent of predicted risk were 200 times more common than among those in the bottom half of predicted risk.
  • Patients with mental health specialty visits who had risk scores in the top 5 percent accounted for 43 percent of suicide attempts and 48 percent of suicide deaths.
  • Patients with primary care visits who had scores in the top 5 percent accounted for 48 percent of suicide attempts and 43 percent of suicide deaths.

This study builds on previous models in other health systems that used fewer potential predictors from patients' records. Using those models, people in the top 5 percent of risk accounted for only a quarter to a third of subsequent suicide attempts and deaths. More traditional suicide risk assessment, which relies on questionnaires or clinical interviews only, is even less accurate.

The new study involved seven large health systems serving a combined population of 8 million people in nine states. The research team examined almost 20 million visits by nearly 3 million people age 13 or older, including about 10.3 million mental health specialty visits and about 9.7 million primary care visits with mental health diagnoses. The researchers deleted information that could help identify individuals.

"It would be fair to say that the health systems in the Mental Health Research Network, which integrate care and coverage, are the best in the country for implementing suicide prevention programs," Dr. Simon said. "But we know we could do better. So several of our health systems, including Kaiser Permanente, are working to integrate prediction models into our existing processes for identifying and addressing suicide risk."

Suicide rates are increasing, with suicide accounting for nearly 45,000 deaths in the United States in 2016; 25 percent more than in 2000, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Other health systems can replicate this approach to risk stratification, according to Dr. Simon. Better prediction of suicide risk can inform decisions by health care providers and health systems. Such decisions include how often to follow up with patients, refer them for intensive treatment, reach out to them after missed or canceled appointments — and whether to help them create a personal safety plan and counsel them about reducing access to means of self-harm.