Commentary

April 1, 2016
 

Pregnancy in military

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Senior Airman Tammie Ramsouer
42nd ABW Public Affairs

Pregnancy can be a blessing for those who don’t experience morning sickness, back aches and swollen ankles, but for others it can be a nightmare experiencing these symptoms with full force. For those in the military there are many opportunities to understand pregnancy a bit better as well as having a support system for any concerns or questions that may arise. On Maxwell AFB, pregnant women both active duty and dependent can take advantage of the New Parent Support Program, which provides new parents with classes, home visits and 24-hour access to a nurse.

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. — Nausea sucks! Oh and by the way, I’m pregnant and it’s my worst pregnancy.

Honestly, being pregnant can be a blessing for those who don’t experience the many symptoms of morning sickness, back aches and swollen ankles, but for others like me, it can be a nightmare.

I think one of the hardest parts about being pregnant is not having anyone to turn to when you need help or when you have those lingering unanswered questions.  This is how I felt during my first pregnancy when I wasn’t in the Air Force.

Now I’m in my second pregnancy, and it is very different from my first in many ways.

I am active-duty military and second, I never had the support and guidance that I have now. I never knew what it was like to be pregnant and be in the military.

Luckily, when my pregnancy was confirmed at the family health clinic here, I had a whole new world open up to me. The clinic offers all kinds of information packets that include classes you can take that is strictly for all new parents. The information is for anyone associated with the military and pregnancy.

The New Parent Support Program provides new parents with classes, home visits and a 24-hour access to a nurse. This was very helpful to me when I was about six weeks along, I called the nurse quite often asking what I could do to cease my morning sickness. The advice they gave me was excellent and nothing short of informative. If there is something the nurse believes is an issue, they will refer you to your OBGYN or, if it is serious, the emergency room.

The base clinic offers a lot of great classes. In these classes parents learn infant care, car-seat-safety, financial issues related to the arrival of a newborn, stress related issues, dental care during pregnancy, Tri-Care issues, exercise and nutrition for mom and baby. I definitely have forgotten a lot about being pregnant, so I know these classes can help a veteran like me or a first-time parent.

My husband is one of those individuals that tends to forget easily, so I know the expectant dad class is something he should attend every other month. It is strictly for dads. They learn topics such as coaching during childbirth, intimacy before and after the baby’s birth, relationship issues and fatherhood. During the class dads can also experience the empathy belly, which is awesome, because they don’t know truly know what our bodies go through during pregnancy. In all honesty they should be hooking them up to a contraction simulator, which would definitely give them an understanding of child birth.

There are even more classes parents can attend, including the OB orientation, breastfeeding and infant care. I plan to attend as many of these classes as possible.

The only critique I have about the clinic is that there is no OBGYN here. Newly pregnant women must get a referral to see an OBGYN off base.
Since becoming pregnant, I realized I had forgotten what it was like to be pregnant. I forgot how to take care of myself during the pregnancy and after the baby is born. I’m glad the Air Force provides so many resources, outside my OBGYN, where I can go for help and support.




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