Written by: Lauren – Guest Blogger sharing her perspective as a VA employee and patient during her second pregnancy.
Hello! The baby and I are doing great. I am now 14 weeks along, and during my checkup this week I heard my baby’s heartbeat for the first time, at a very strong 160 bpm. If I listened to old wives tales, that would mean I am having a baby girl. Old wives tales say that anything over 140 beats per minute is a girl and below 140 bpm is a boy. These types of myths and stories can be fun, but they are only 50% accurate.
With pregnancy and even other health-related topics, issues, or ailments, it is easy to get caught up with all the different types of information out there, and even easier to get overloaded with good information.
One of the things I have noticed since I started working for VA is that they prioritize patient education. At the Martinsburg VA Medical Center, we have a Veteran Health Education Coordinator and a Veterans Health Education Resource Center. This is a place you can go to ask questions and even take health education classes (such as MOVE!, diabetes management, tobacco cessation, etc.). It is such a great resource for Veterans. Not only that but every provider I have met really values health education, which promotes a very good environment for the medical center.
So I was not surprised when my social worker sent me this book in the mail.
The book is jointly published by Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. It is a great resource to help take notes at my appointments, answer questions about common discomforts in pregnancy and has information about different stages of labor, plus much more.
I’ve also learned how much information the MyHealtheVet Veterans Health Library has on pregnancy. There is a ton of information about gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and back pain during pregnancy.
VA has many resources for health education, so it is always best to ask your provider where you should start.
So, I will be learning as much as I can from the patient education resources to continue staying healthy during my pregnancy. On June 11 I will find out if any of the old wives tales are true when I have an ultrasound to determine if I am having a little boy or girl. So far they all point to me having a girl. I wonder how my 4 year old son will react to that news!
Lauren is a Navy Veteran and current Public Affairs Specialist at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center in West Virginia. Throughout her second pregnancy, she will be sharing her thoughts and experiences as a patient at VA. We are all excited to follow her on this healthcare journey!