Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can be confusing and overwhelming. These resources can help prepare expectant mothers, new parents and families for what’s ahead.
Prenatal care is essential for a healthy pregnancy and a safe birth. These maternity resources can help your community members get the information they need, including pregnancy tips for both women and men, nutritional tips, oral health care and mental health support.
For Veteran expecting mothers and their partners, a VA Maternity Care Coordinator (MCC) can help them design a plan for the best possible maternity experience before, during and after the birthing process. A MCC can also answer questions about maternity coverage and connect a Veteran to additional resources and services.
MCCs can also assist with breastfeeding support for women who choose to breastfeed after their baby is born. MCCs can recommend breastfeeding supplies for rent, answer breastfeeding questions and provide education on positioning, latching and feeding techniques. The MCC can also connect a Veteran to a lactation clinic where a nurse can help the Veteran learn how to use a breast pump, address concerns and answer any other questions that may arise.
During the delivery process, the MCC will monitor the health of both mother and baby. During this time, the MCC will look for signs of fetal distress, such as a decrease in the fetal heart rate or the presence of meconium (baby’s first poop). If these signs are present, an internal exam may be performed. During this exam, the MCC will place an internal monitor on the baby’s scalp and use an instrument called an amniohook, which looks like a crochet hook, to rupture the amniotic sac.
The MCC will also keep a close eye on the contractions to assess labor progress. This monitoring is important to determine if the labor can continue or if a C-section should be performed. The MCC will also test the baby’s urine for signs of infection and may insert an internal monitor to check the baby’s heart rate throughout the delivery.
In the United States, a large percentage of women have a C-section. The majority of these births are necessary due to medical reasons. However, some people may elect to have a C-section for nonmedical reasons. This is known as an elective C-section. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) discourages elective C-sections, unless medically necessary.
New York State Maternity Quality Care (NYSPQC) is an evidence-based project that has resulted in improved maternity outcomes and safety in the state. NYSPQC projects focus on specific areas of improvement in a collaborative and learning-oriented manner. The goal is to improve maternity outcomes and reduce variation across hospitals.