As if moving across the country with your active-duty spouse isn’t already a little stressful, how about doing it while also being pregnant?
Military spouses, Sofia Temple and Mandy Truesdale, share their advice from first-hand experience to better guide other pregnant milspouses during their own journeys.
Temple was in her first trimester of pregnancy with her first child in January 2020 when she and her husband PCS’ed from Del Rio, Texas, to Altus, Oklahoma. They did a TDY enroute and weren’t planning on delivering in Altus since they would be at their next station by the time their baby’s due date arrived. However, COVID hit while they were in Altus and their plans changed.
“My biggest, very cliché advice is to be open to change or things not going the way that you expect,” said Temple.
In Altus, Temple chose her OB provider thinking it was only temporary, but when she realized she had to deliver with them, she changed to someone she trusted a little more. In hindsight, there was something major that she would have done differently.
“I would have made sure I liked my provider from the start,” Temple said. “I wish I had researched more ahead of time and made sure my desires aligned with that provider.”
Temple suggests contacting the medical group wherever you are currently stationed and speaking with the new parent support program coordinator. She did this at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio and trusted they had good advice when it came to helping her to have the best OB experience.
Another tip Temple stresses is to have your current OB’s office print a hard copy of your prenatal records for you to have on hand before you PCS.
“Since you have to sign off on records being shared due to HIPAA, make sure you sign off on them prior to moving,” said Temple. “So that if you don’t know who your next provider will be, you have a copy to share with them, but make the new place make copies of it—don’t give away your set of documents.”
What some pregnant women may not know is that Tricare won’t let patients empanel until they have already moved to their new location. So, although you can’t get the referral process underway just yet, Temple said it’s a good idea to reach out to the provider you are interested in receiving care from at your new location and make sure they are accepting new patients.
Something else that’s important to think about when moving while pregnant is where you want your registry items sent.
“You can have them sent to either your current house and move with them, or sent to an address at your new place, so that they’re there waiting for you. We had all our stuff sent ahead, except for major essentials like diapers and wipes,” Temple explained.
Truesdale, who was nine months pregnant with her second child when she and her husband moved from Del Rio, Texas, to Montgomery, Alabama, has some valuable tips of her own.
Similar to one of Temple’s points, one of Truesdale’s biggest pieces of advice is to not settle on things in hopes that they will line up with your timeline. Truesdale and her family specifically purchased a house that was being built, solely based on it being completed before her due date. However, things did not go as planned and their house wasn’t done when Truesdale went into labor. Thus, they lived in an Airbnb for six weeks while they waited for its completion.
However, Truesdale was prepared for almost anything.
“We weren’t sure when our home goods would be delivered, so we packed a small U-Haul of baby stuff, so we had it on hand just in case she came before we got our home goods,” she said.
Truesdale also suggests joining the military spouse group’s Facebook page at your incoming base to see who people recommend in that area in terms of OB providers.
A piece of advice Truesdale has for women who are expecting that already have children at home is to prep your child for the move ahead of time and support them whenever it’s needed after the move. Children are affected by change just like adults and moving is a big one.
Once any military family learns they’re being stationed at another location, one of the first things that comes to mind is the people they will be leaving behind at their old station.
“Make friends quickly (at your new location), so you have someone to help you or with your other children if you need it,” Truesdale advised. “Open up to other families at your new base right away and you’ll be surprised how handy having new friends that you can count on can be.”
Moving while pregnant may not always go perfectly, but in considering advice from women who have learned from their own experiences, it could very well make your transition go a little more smoothly.