Skip main navigation

Military Health System

Clear Your Browser Cache

This website has recently undergone changes. Users finding unexpected concerns may care to clear their browser's cache to ensure a seamless experience.

Ask the Doc: How Can the Military Health System Help Me Through My Pregnancy?

Image of Ask the Doc: How Can the Military Health System Help Me Through My Pregnancy?. U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Megan King, a certified nurse midwife at Naval Hospital Jacksonville, uses a tape measure to determine fetal height on a maternity patient during a prenatal examination on Sept. 18, 2023. The measurement in centimeters should correspond to the number of weeks of pregnancy. The Military Health System has a host of resources for pregnant and postpartum parents. (U.S. Navy photo by Deidre Smith, Naval Hospital Jacksonville)

Dear Doc,

I just found out I’m pregnant with my first baby and am so excited—but also kind of scared. As the partner of an active duty service member, I’d like to find out what resources are available and what I can expect during my pregnancy in the Military Health System and after my baby arrives.

--New to this Whole Thing

Congratulations on your exciting news.

Approximately 100,000 babies are born within the MHS each year, ensuring a wealth of experience in prenatal care, labor, delivery, and postpartum care—all covered fully by TRICARE.

U.S. Navy Capt. (Dr.) Kelly Elmore, an OB/GYN and chief of staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, offers these valuable insights. She also shares her insights on a video about resources within the Military Health System.

______

Dear New,

Here’s how the MHS can help you during your pregnancy and afterwards.

Begin with pre-pregnancy counseling with your primary care provider.

After a positive home pregnancy test, contact your primary care clinic for confirmation and a referral to a prenatal provider under TRICARE.

For challenges in accessing care, consult a military prenatal provider, guided by your health care benefits advisor.

The Prenatal Pathway, aligned with professional health care guidelines, includes regular check-ups, starting between six to eight weeks of pregnancy, where you go through nursing intake, or triage, you get your history and physical, receive prenatal vitamins, baseline lab results, and first visit with a nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, family medicine specialist, or obstetrician.

If you have pain or bleeding, then we see you earlier.

From there, you follow the TRICARE Prenatal Pathway, which is the Department of Defense pregnancy and postpartum book of information and resources. Other examples include the U.S. Navy’s phone application.

Other military-wide resources for pregnancy and new families include Pregnancy and Parenting Resources from TRICARE.mil and the New Parent Support Program and Parenting from Military OneSource. TRICARE offers a number of resources from pregnancy health and wellness to breastfeeding and quitting smoking while pregnant or a parent, children’s health tips and organizations, and support and advocacy.

The pathways follow the professional guidelines and best practices of the American Association of Family Practitioners, the Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses.

For routine and uncomplicated pregnancies, we see you every four to six weeks, during your first and second trimesters, and every one to four weeks during your third and fourth trimesters based upon your health.

High-risk pregnancies receive specialized care. Behavioral health services are available for depression throughout your pregnancy and post-partum depression.

For 24/7 advice, there’s the TRICARE Nurse Advice Line. I recommend parents put this service on speed dial. Many times, the Nurse Advice Line can resolve the concern or guide you to the right provider with an appointment, if needed.

Postpartum care has evolved beyond the traditional six weeks after delivery and takes into consideration the physical, emotional, and mental aspects of giving birth, not to mention the newly realized financial impact. Appointments are scheduled based on the health of the patient, family, and child.

The MHS emphasizes inclusivity, supporting various family structures, and aims for world-class, evidence-based health care to ensure your family thrives.

Here's to a healthy pregnancy and best wishes for a safe delivery.

___

Dear New,

Dr. Elmore has some great advice, and there are so many resources you and your partner can use during your pregnancy and beyond. As always, take care out there.

You also may be interested in...

Video
Nov 20, 2023

Schedule Your Annual Well-Woman Exam Today

Schedule Your Annual Well-Woman Exam Today

CAPT Kelly Elmore, MD, OB/GYN and Chief of Staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center encourages you to schedule your annual well-woman exam. Cervical Cancer screening is your covered TRICARE benefit. Depending on your age, a pap smear and/or HPV test are recommended to screen for cervical cancer. Make sure you take time today for your ...

Article Around MHS
Nov 20, 2023

The Madness We Survive

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Matilyn Million, 6th Medical Support Squadron laboratory technician, stands next to her coworkers during a chemotherapy appointment in Tampa, Florida, on Aug. 21, 2023. Million was diagnosed with stage III Hodgkin’s lymphoma in March 2023. She completed her 12th and final chemotherapy treatment on Sept. 18, 2023, and is currently cancer free. (Courtesy Photo)

A renewed spirit to resume the life she previously had consumed U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Matilyn Million as she closed her most difficult chapter. On Sept. 18, 2023, Million underwent her 12th and final chemotherapy treatment in Tampa, Florida.

Article Around MHS
Nov 1, 2023

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Champions Women's Health Care Options Using Minimally Invasive Hysterectomy Surgery

Dr. Candice Jones-Cox, the Women's Health Services director at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is all smiles after becoming the first surgeon in the Department of Defense medical community to perform a robotic minimally invasive endoscopic surgery. (Photo by Ricardo Reyes/Department of Defense)

When you meet Dr. Candice Jones-Cox, director of the Women's Health Services at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, you will learn that she's a fierce patient advocate and a meticulous surgeon, passionately learning cutting-edge techniques to adapt to an ever-changing medical landscape. She's an obstetrician-gynecologist, highly adept at ...

Article Around MHS
Oct 19, 2023

Lights, Camera, Ultrasound! Uniformed Services University Nursing Students Train Using High-Tech Simulation Theater

The Uniformed Services University students from the family and women’s health nurse practitioner program attended the university’s Wide-Area Virtual Environment at the Simulation Center for the first time in Oct. 2023. (Photo by Tom Balfour, USU)

Military students from the Uniformed Services University conducted immersive medical team training in the university's Wide-Area Virtual Environment. The theater is a a state-of-the-art 3D immersive reality facility that simulates various scenarios, replicating environments from war zones to medical emergencies, to prepare them for real-world medical ...

Video
Oct 18, 2023

The Importance of Mammograms

The Importance of Mammograms

Capt. Monica Lutgendorf, M.D. explains why it's important to get a mammogram, especially for individuals between the ages of 40 and 74. Breast cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths among women. It's important to take time for your health and get your mammogram every other year if you are at normal risk. Contact your local hospital or clinic ...

Video
Oct 18, 2023

Schedule your Mammogram Screening Today

Schedule your Mammogram Screening Today

Capt. Monica Lutgendorf, M.D. explains the importance to get regular mammogram screenings. It's important to get screening for mammograms every other year for someone with normal risk factors. If you have higher risk factors, your screening recommendations may change. Please talk to your medical provider. You can schedule your mammogram at your local ...

Article Around MHS
Sep 11, 2023

A Profile in Courage: Former Marine Shares Her Breast Cancer Survivor Story

Stephanie Bowens, a former Marine, cancer survivor, and nursing administrator, contemplates her day at Walter Reed Military Medical Center, preparing for an upcoming breast reconstruction surgery. (Photo: Ricardo Reyes-Guevara, Walter Reed Military Medical Center)

Former Marine Stephanie Bowens stands quietly in the nerve center of Walter Reed Military Medical Center’s nurse administration office, gathering her thoughts before coordinating schedules, arranging meetings, and fostering camaraderie among her talented teammates. It’s the perfect position for a creative, energetic, and organized leader who ...

Article
Aug 23, 2023

TRICARE Laboratory Developed Tests Demonstration Extended, Certain Tests Now Covered

TRICARE Laboratory Developed Tests Demonstration Extended, Certain Tests Now Covered

The Defense Health Agency announced the five-year extension of the Laboratory Developed Tests Demonstration. The DHA extended the demonstration from July 19, 2023 through July 18, 2028. The DHA also announced that TRICARE will now cover several preconception and prenatal carrier screenings as part of the basic TRICARE benefit.

Skip subpage navigation
Refine your search
Last Updated: February 07, 2024
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery