You recently moved to a new base with your spouse and along with the new location came the exciting news that you have a little one on the way!
Whether it’s your first or fourth pregnancy, there will be unknowns when it comes to healthcare resources offered for obstetric patients at your new base clinic or hospital.
From personal experience with finding out I was pregnant soon after my husband and I relocated for his Air Force career, I have gained knowledge that I wish I’d have known from the start. Of course, I learned this knowledge over time and there is nothing wrong with living and learning, but I would have been much more calm and hopeful had I known it from the start. If I can help ease just one military spouse’s pregnancy journey, then I’ll have accomplished my goal!
Most bases offer prenatal classes that aim to inform pregnant women and their spouses on a number of topics relating to carrying and raising a baby. These topics include OB Orientation, First Trimester, Second Trimester, Third Trimester, Breastfeeding and more. These classes are free and are a great time to ask any questions that arise on the spot or that you have been wondering about since you first found out you were pregnant.
When you attend your OB Orientation class, you will more than likely be given a couple of books on pregnancy. What to Expect When You’re Expecting is one of them, as well as a pregnancy journal/timeline to keep notes in for detailing your own journey. You don’t have to read them immediately or within a week, but DO read them. These books can answer many of the questions that you may have during your pregnancy. Questions like whether or not something is normal or when you should expect to schedule your next ultrasound. Knowledge is power in all walks of life and if this is your first pregnancy, it’ll be most helpful and reassuring to you.
Non-mandatory Pregnancy Blood Tests
A couple of pregnancy blood tests that are not mandatory for women to have done include testing for the Zika virus and for genetic disorders. Depending on where you and your husband are stationed, Zika may or may not be a threat. For those living in areas with high populations of mosquitoes where the climate is mostly warm, the Zika virus can be of concern. Most military bases in Zika surveillance zones offer free Zika testing for pregnant women during each trimester. A pregnant woman with Zika could result in a fetus with abnormalities, but the testing isn’t to alarm anyone, it’s to be proactive. Testing a pregnant woman’s blood to see if her fetus is at risk for genetic disorders is another test that is covered by most military hospitals, but not necessary. For those who may have a family history of genetic disorders, this testing is an option for giving you peace of mind or preparing you early for the possibility of your baby having any abnormalities. You may not fall into either of these categories—living in a Zika surveillance area or having a family history of genetic disorders—but the options are there for those women who are interested in them.
Being a pregnant spouse of a military member has its advantages. Let these provide you with comfort and confidence throughout your pregnancy, so you can focus on staying healthy. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing—enjoy the process!