Women face various health issues that can be challenging to manage. From baseline medical, emotional, financial, or social situations that can adversely affect pregnancy to specific conditions that arise during pregnancy, such as placental disorders, gestational diabetes, and hypertensive disorders, women need all the help they can get to ensure a healthy pregnancy. That's where Martin Army Community Hospital (MACH) Women’s Health Service Line (WHSL) comes in. With its multi-interdisciplinary teams, MACH WHSL is well-equipped to support emotional, medical, and social needs. The Women's Clinic at MACH has Nurse Case Managers to assist with Tricare referrals, Triage Nurses to help patients stay connected with physicians or answer patient’s questions as needed, and Procedure Nurses for iron infusions and Non-Stress Tests/Bio-Physical Profiles (NST/BPPS).
MACH WHSL follows a shared decision-making process to prevent and manage these pregnancy-related issues. Assigned Providers work closely with patients to make decisions and select tests, treatments, and care plans based on evidence-based practice, balancing risks and expected outcomes with patients' preferences and values. Lt. Col. Francesca Desriviere, a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), states “Patients are at the center of our healthcare system, it’s our job to ensure their needs are met and their concerns are addressed throughout their pregnancy journey.”
Prenatal care is critical in ensuring a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Expectant mothers who receive prenatal care have a higher chance of delivering healthy babies. Expectant mothers, who choose MACH WHSL for their maternity care, can expect an appointment every four weeks in the first and second trimesters, with the frequency of appointments increasing after 36 weeks of gestation. During their prenatal visits, expectant mothers can expect three ultrasounds: the first, usually done at 10-12 weeks to confirm pregnancy and dating, the second is a scan to verify healthy/normal fetal anatomy done at 18-20 weeks, and the third to confirm the fetal position, usually around 36 weeks. The frequency of appointments will increase after 36 weeks to every week until delivery.
“Maintaining a balanced diet is vital for ensuring adequate nutrition during pregnancy. A diet that focuses on fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, fiber, and healthy fats is key to wellness at all stages of life,” said Desriviere. Pregnant women need only an extra 300 calories per day to support the growth of a healthy baby. Additionally, women need to maintain good hydration by consuming about one gallon of water daily, particularly when being active or during the sweltering Georgia summer.
However, certain types of foods should be avoided during pregnancy to prevent any health complications. For instance, undercooked or raw seafood, meats, and soft "unpasteurized" cheese like gouda, brie, gorgonzola, queso, and feta should be avoided. Deli meat should be heated or cooked prior to consumption. Certain types of fish can also have high levels of mercury, such as mackerel, orange roughy, swordfish, shark, and tilefish. White (albacore) tuna should be limited to only 6 ounces per week. All unpasteurized foods and unwashed produce should be avoided, and caffeine intake should be limited to 200mg per day, which is about 16oz of coffee. Substance use can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth, birth defects, or developmental disabilities. The best way to decrease the risk of these problems is to abstain from any alcohol, drug, or tobacco use during pregnancy.
Exercise is another important aspect of a healthy pregnancy. Exercise, reduces back pain, can decrease the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, promotes healthy weight gain, assists with labor and delivery, and improves overall fitness over a person's lifetime. “Pre-pregnancy exercise levels are a good place to start when planning for a healthy, active pregnancy,” said Desriviere. Women with different fitness levels can exercise during pregnancy, but modifications may be required over time. For example, pre-pregnancy long-distance runners and CrossFit enthusiasts can continue to do these exercises safely during pregnancy by making small modifications.
Another important issue to consider during pregnancy is mental health. Pregnancy can be a time of increased stress and anxiety, and some women may experience depression. It's important for women to seek support and care if they are experiencing any mental health concerns. At MACH, we have a team of mental health professionals who are available to provide support and treatment to our patients. We also offer resources and referrals to community organizations that specialize in mental health care for pregnant women.
Pregnancy is an enjoyable, happy, unique, and challenging time for women. At MACH, our group of caring professionals understand the importance of providing comprehensive care to support our patients' physical, emotional, and social well-being throughout their pregnancy. By providing prenatal care, nutrition guidance, exercise recommendations, and mental health support, we aim to help our patients achieve a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
For more information:
MFLC (Military & Family Life Counseling Program) 706-366-6702
ASAP Prevention Coordinator 706-545-7027
Military One Source 800-342-9647; www.Militaryonesource.mil
www.postpartum.net Postpartum Support International