Pregnancy in the Military

Being pregnant while serving in the military can be challenging, but there are also some great resources to help support you and your growing family. What policies do you need to be aware of before, during and after your pregnancy? What can you expect regarding prenatal care? And what options do you have for delivering your baby?

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Episode Transcript

Preggie Pals
Pregnancy in the Military
Episode 113, July 21st, 2014


Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

[Theme Music]

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Being pregnant while serving in the Armed Forces has its own special set of challenges whether you’re in the Navy, Marine Corp, Army, Air Force or Coast Guard. There are many policies you should be aware of ideally prior to getting pregnant. But in addition to the challenges, there are also many resources that are available to support both you as the pregnant service member and your growing baby. I’m Lieutenant Commander Carolyn Piszczek a navy medical corp. OBGYN and today we’re talking about being pregnant while serving in the military. This is Preggie Pals.

[Theme Music/Intro]

ANNIE LAIRD: Welcome to Preggie Pals broadcasting from the birth education center of San Diego. Preggie Pals is your weekly online on the go support group for expecting parents and also those hoping to become pregnant. I’m your host Annie Laird. Thanks to all of our loyal listeners who’ve joined the Preggie Pals club.

Our members get special episodes, bonus content after each new show plus special giveaways and discounts. See our website for more information. Another way for you to stay connected is by downloading our free Preggie Pals app which is available in the Android, iTunes and Windows market places. Now Samantha our producer is going to give us some more information about our virtual panelist program. Take it away Sam.

SAMANTHA EKLUND: Thanks Annie. So if you don’t live in San Diego but you’d like to be a panelist on our show you can still participate through our virtual panelist program. Just like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram using #preggipals. We’ll post questions throughout the week prior to our taping and we’d love for you to comment so we can incorporate your thoughts into our episode. You can also submit your questions directly to our experts. Learn more about our VP program through the community section on our website

ANNIE LAIRD: Alright let’s go around the table and introduce ourselves. My name is Annie Laird I’m about to turn 36 next week, occupation I’m a government contractor during the week and then on the weekend side do Preggie Pals and this is my last episode here on Preggie Pals.



SUNNY GAULT: I’m so sad.

ANNIE LAIRD: It’s I’m going to miss it a lot but it’ll be really hard to call in from a 10 zone time difference. So…

SUNNY GAULT: Yeah tell them why you’re not going to be on the show anymore.

ANNIE LAIRD: So I’m not going to be on the show anymore because my husband he’s just received orders to work at the I’m trying to think what the name I should know this because I’m a navy veteran myself but it’s like the navy central command, navy central command. So he’s going to be working in Bahrain, so if you know where that is it’s a little island it’s a group of islands but it’s also of the coast of Saudi Arabia. My husband told me it was 109 degrees today.

SUNNY GAULT: It’s that where he is now?

ANNIE LAIRD: That’s where he is right now.

SUNNY GAULT: Oh my goodness.

ANNIE LAIRD: Which is going to be super awesome for me moving three kids and a cat and all of our household goods over to Bahrain. Yeah that’s going to be definitely super awesome so yeah it took a classes on how to do it and at first I thought oh I don’t want to take a military rotator where this open bay planes with like the jump seats on the side?

SUNNY GAULT: Oh my gosh.

ANNIE LAIRD: I said no-no with like young kids like I have it’s great because you don’t have to be on seat the whole time I can just spread a blanket out…


ANNIE LAIRD: For the little’s and they can my toddler she runs around like crazy so she ran around the plane…

SUNNY GAULT: Oh my gosh.

ANNIE LAIRD: You know and it’s other military you know families and military members that are on this plane so It’s not like I’m going to have some you know middle age person be like…


ANNIE LAIRD: Why is your 2 year old acting like a 2 year old? Well because she’s two genius you know. So yeah so I’m going to miss it a lot but yeah this is my last this is my last episode. So we had to get in pregnancy in the military here.

SUNNY GAULT: Yes we did.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah well I’m still the host so yes as I alluded to I have three children all girls. So community hospital for the first one, second one was a planned homebirth and then we transferred to the hospital which was a wild ride 20 minutes later I had a baby and then the third one was a planned homebirth.

SAMANTHA EKLUND: Right I’m Samantha. I’m the producer of Preggie Pals. I have a 19 month old Olivia who is currently driving me a little crazy.

ANNIE LAIRD: But not now, now it’s your…

SUNNY GAULT: This is an easy stick age - what are you talking - she walking?


SUNNY GAULT: Oh she’s walking.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah when silent that’s become very suspicious.


SAMANTHA EKLUND: I so found her ripping of dollar bills the other day. It was like…

ANNIE LAIRD: At least it’s just dollar bills. I mean…

SUNNY GAULT: They could have a couple of zeros [inaudible].

SAMANTHA EKLUND: So it was like mom please come get your grandchild please come get her. My mom’s great. I currently don’t have a due date. She was unfortunately an unplanned cesarean and I’m hoping for a VBAC next time around.


SUNNY GAULT: Hey everyone I’m Sunny. I am the owner of New Mommy Media which produces Preggie Pals, Parents Savers, The Boob Group and Twin Talks. I’m a mommy of four children currently under the age of four, two older boys and a set of identical twin girls and I’m really excited about today’s episode. I hosted Preggie Pals before Annie and I think I mean I think I even ask Annie shortly after you are on the show just as a panelist I’m like I really want to do a show about pregnancy in the military like being here in San Diego I thought it would be such a good topic to explore that is not something that I’ve seen a lot of information out there about…


SUNNY GAULT: I think everyone will just a little bit curious even if you’re not in the military. So…

ANNIE LAIRD: Well it’s interesting because I was talking to the public affairs folks…


ANNIE LAIRD: For the military getting the approval to do the show and I said you know when I was in the navy I think something like this is so needed because especially with the people in the navy a lot of them are young people.


ANNIE LAIRD: Their all a lot of them of child bearing age you know and they don’t go to their crusty old chief to get information about pregnancy.


ANNIE LAIRD: They go to the internet.


ANNIE LAIRD: They use social media. This is how you know younger people women of child bearing age are finding their information and so you know that’s as we were talking saying this is something that we need to get this out here on our iTunes and Windows market places…


ANNIE LAIRD: And Android because this is how women are going to find us.


[Theme Music]

ANNIE LAIRD: Hey we’ve got a comment from one of our listeners. Andrea posted on Facebook the best podcast about pregnancy out there. I love listening to one or two episodes when running or walking and that keeps me motivated to get out fighting the kankles. Love it. Thanks Andrea.

[Theme Music]

ANNIE LAIRD: Today we’re talking about pregnancy in the military. Joining us on the studio is Lt. Commander Carolyn Piszczek, a naval medical corp. OBGYN serving at the naval medical center of San Diego. She’s currently the OB division chief and an assistant professor at the Uniform Services University of the Health Sciences. Welcome to Preggie Pals Carolyn. Thanks for joining us.

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Thank you for having me Annie.

ANNIE LAIRD: Wow that Uniform Services University of the Health Sciences that’s a…

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: They try to make it difficult.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah they do it’s a tongue twister. Yeah. So today we’re talking about pregnancy military and as we were talking about beforehand I think this is a really important topic because a lot of the younger people you know in the military their going to find information not from they’re not going to be going and looking on op nav instructions see they probably don’t know what op nav instructions.




ANNIE LAIRD: You know they’ll going to be looking on social media and looking online and googling and seeing you know what are - I’m pregnant. Oops. You know…


ANNIE LAIRD: Exactly. While I imagine that a lot of pregnancies they are unplanned.


ANNIE LAIRD: At least I think they were.

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: 50% are unplanned.



ANNIE LAIRD: So say pregnant woman she’s serving in the armed forces and if she you know finds oops you know…


ANNIE LAIRD: Either oops I’m pregnant or oh I’m so happy I’m pregnant or maybe not but so what’s the first step in seeking prenatal care and what does she do about that?

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So the service member initial should let the help group care professional that’s attached to her command be aware.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So every service member will know who that is and if they don’t know they should just ask the person their immediate supervisor and they will let them know. And so that point they are to get a pregnancy test in the military system. And within two weeks of getting pregnancy test or knowing their pregnant they are supposed to inform their chain of command. So usually it kind of happens all together but as we all know a lot of times here patient will have or if someone have a suspicion they are pregnant they’ll do a home pregnancy test.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: They take 10 more. They don’t believe it.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: And then they come in and then they tell their chain of command and so it should be done within two weeks of knowing.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: And then once you get a positive pregnancy test in the military system…

ANNIE LAIRD: Know did they do that through via like a blood test or urine or…

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Just a urine test.

ANNIE LAIRD: Okay. Okay.

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: And so once that urine test is obtained then their [inaudible 00:08:48] into the system. So it kind of depends on where they are as far as you know geographically where they are, which military treatment facility they’ll be attached to but that will be done almost automatically once they made their chain aware because there is a there is a designated military treatment facility for every pregnant patient that is at duty.

ANNIE LAIRD: Oh okay. Alright. So what kind of options do service members have as far as giving birth or where can they get birth?


ANNIE LAIRD: Not obviously birth in the wild living reality show.

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: No birthing in the wild.

ANNIE LAIRD: No birthing in the wild that probably would not be approved by the commanding officer. So yeah.

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Most members give birth in the hospital at one of the military treatment facilities. If that’s if that is reasonable considering their geographic location again and generally that can be in group care or that can be in individual care. So the birth will obviously individual…


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: But the care up to that can be through a group care like centering in pregnancy group which is essentially a group of 10 – 12 women that see all of their prenatal care together…


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: In visits so the education occurs together. The individual assessment occur in a private area but it’s nice because it’s a long session. There’s a lot of it’s not just focus on education but also on bonding and shared experience of pregnancy and so for a lot of duty members especially if there are on location where they don’t have many friends or family can be really valuable for formulating those bonds with other people…


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: They also have a postpartum reunion as well which is really fun because they will bring their kids and they can…


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Meet each other and see each other and then you know form lasting relationship. So that’s a good option but actually in the hospital we have physicians and midwives that would be the ones overseeing the deliveries.

ANNIE LAIRD: Oh okay yeah and here on Preggie Pals we talk about the differences between OBs. We just did an episode all about you know what is a midwife? I think there’s…


ANNIE LAIRD: Misconceptions about…


ANNIE LAIRD: What midwives do and I mean and you’re an OBGYN so but I know here where you work at naval medical center San Diego that the midwives and the OBs work together.

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Yes and I think most hospitals in the country they do. So the midwives are advance practice nurses who has gone through additional training to become midwives. They are very skilled at what they do. They’re not trained in things like cesarean sections or so other complicated pregnancies that just take a little bit a little different of an education and so they are trained more in certain things than obstetrician are trained more on other things so really just depends on the patient kind of whether or not their appropriate for a midwife care or whether their appropriate for obstetric care.

So the routine on complicated pregnant patient is well cared for with a midwife or nurse practitioner and often there’ll be a patient that’s cared for all through pregnancy and even during labor and then they’ll be something that’s notice like the pregnancy isn’t advance or the labor I should say isn’t advancing as expected and then and obstetrician will be consulted by the midwife.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So midwives are independent practitioners. We work together with them so they can consult the obstetrics service should they need our additional assistance.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah. I want to talk about a little bit more about this group centering care. I think what a neat concept. That I don’t think there’s an equivalent of that as far as I know in civilian care. It just seems to be most women just you know go to their doctor and that’s it but…

SAMANTHA EKLUND: Right maybe like the idea of sacred pregnancy…


SAMANTHA EKLUND: But that’s more like support not so much in the medical aspect.


ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah. So many times where I felt like I left the OBs office…

SAMANTHA EKLUND: Your like what did he just say?

ANNIE LAIRD: Exactly. Or like exactly oh I thought of this question I think women feed off each other and you know there’s a lot of oh well that’s a great question I wouldn’t even thought to ask that question.

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Yeah. It encourages openness too and discussion because a lot of times it can be intimidating in the physician’s visit that’s only 15 minutes.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: To really to really ask all the questions that you have like a lot of times will be one question the patient ask but they might not they might not ask a follow up questions because they don’t want to inconvenience anyone but when you have a group discussion and there’s all these different people kind of chiming in and you have more time and these centering visits are longer periods of time so there’s just more time for education and more time for group education which you know most people prior to delivery do not need a medical assessment beyond just routine care. And so…

ANNIE LAIRD: Blood pressure…

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Exactly blood pressure…


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Weight. We look at the growth of the baby like the baby’s heart rate. So beyond that is really education. I mean a lot of the prenatal visits are screening exams essentially in order to isolate those patients that do need more care but most people don’t until the time of delivery.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: And so the prenatal care is obviously very important because it’s a way for us to pick out those people that need more care and need more help into but the focus of prenatal care is mostly education for the patient.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So that they can power them to best take care of themselves.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Because ultimately the patient is the one that is really in charge of the pregnancy and we’re there just to make sure that there aren’t things that a woman couldn’t control that we need to help her with. So it’s a great model.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: We love that model just because it’s very efficient for education and for empowerment of the pregnant woman.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah and just keeping the pregnancy low risk as well.




ANNIE LAIRD: So keeping a low risk you know pregnancy and keeping a healthy baby.



CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Educated patient it will definitely result in more healthy pregnancy.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: And that’s and a more healthy baby…


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: And you know that’s you know our job mostly I think with antepartum care is to provide that education that’s very effectively it’s effectively delivered in both settings with the individual provider and in group care so it’s just nice because then the patient is able to kind of determine what works better for her.

ANNIE LAIRD: Right. Now I want to talk about ultrasounds. I know the big ultrasound normally is around like 20 weeks but as far as military healthcare, what is covered for ultrasounds? What do women normally get?

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So if you’re a routine patient that has no additional health problems that have been identified then you get your dating ultrasound which is one that we do early where we and to promote the best identification of the due date. So the earlier you get an ultrasound the more accurate it is as far as determining when your due date is because and that make sense kind of because the closer you are to conception the more likely the growth of the baby is going to be because of how old the baby is versus other factors…


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Like genetic factors.

ANNIE LAIRD: How much [inaudible 00:15:28]. Yeah

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Yeah. Exactly. So the earlier the better for that and then the second one so all we do with that first ultrasound essentially is just making sure that the dating is confirmed and then later when we do the 18 to 20 week ultrasound the anatomy scan that’s when we can see the anatomy well and we can determine if there are other abnormalities that are identified at that time.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So and then obviously if there you know most women that’s all they need.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: But there are definitely women a good percentage of women that are identified as higher risk and so they have a reason to get further ultrasounds and we’ll identify it as whatever point is appropriate whenever they become complicated.

ANNIE LAIRD: What would be a reason for like high risk that you will get more ultrasounds more than they needed?

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So a woman that had things like high blood pressure. So if a woman had chronic high blood pressure they are increase risk of the baby not growing appropriately and so that is one particular patient in which we would do actual serial growth scans.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So there’s they’re generally just more complicated preexisting medical conditions with would would’ve flag that need further evaluation.

ANNIE LAIRD: Oh okay. Now what kind of resources are available as far as workshops or child birth education we talked about centering care but is there any other kinds of resources that pregnant women in the military can go to…


ANNIE LAIRD: To learn how to become a parent?

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So many resources. It’s so it’s very dependent on the particular military treatment facility but I know in Navy Medical Center San Diego we have more than 30 classes that are targeted to education both prior to and after delivery. So that’s everything from just we have a course that’s the ABCs of pregnancy.

So it talks about everything from budget planning for the baby to learning how to cook healthy meals for yourself and for your child after birth to breastfeeding health to just kind of family balance and regaining that family balance now with the addition of a child. There are classes that are focus more on fitness and so that and they’re once that are one time class there’s also group classes that are carry on or go on at certain intervals and they’re meant to be on the same groups.

You guys learn different tools that can help you being a new mom together. And there’s also classes for siblings actually siblings class which is just try to get the siblings excited about the idea of having a new baby brother baby sister. So there’s a multitude even there’s even resources that can come out to active duty members home after delivery to help with specific things that they’re having difficult time.

ANNIE LAIRD: Oh that’s good…


ANNIE LAIRD: Especially for postpartum depression.

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Oh for a lot of things.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So there are resources for everything. There’s also a lot of breastfeeding resources and that’s our particular focus right now and the DOD is kind of trying to best facilitate our breastfeeding among active duty members because it can be very challenging especially when going back to work and so we’re trying to do things to help that. There already are establish many resources but we’re trying to kind of establish more. So there’s a there’s a it’s a warm line which is essentially is a breastfeeding phone number which you can call to get into contact with a lactation consultant.

ANNIE LAIRD: Oh great.

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: That you can just pick the phone and call and…


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Have those questions answered. So that can be more convenient sometimes than coming in to the hospital.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah and you know when it’s 2 in the morning…


ANNIE LAIRD: There isn’t a lot of people you can talk to you know.


ANNIE LAIRD: So what is the you know husband or the father of the baby know about breastfeeding, probably not a lot.

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Yeah probably not a lot. Yeah and of the fact that he can’t do it.

ANNIE LAIRD: Exactly. Yeah. Here have a bottle hon. No that’s exactly is what we don’t want to happen so yeah. Right when we come back we’re going to be discussing the day to day of military life and how being pregnant affects that in your job in the military. We’ll be right back.

[Theme Music]

ANNIE LAIRD: Welcome back today we are discussing pregnancy in the military. Lt. Commander Carolyn Piszczek is our expert. Now let me go back to something we are talking about before the break which was breastfeeding in the military I wanted to bring up that our other show our sister show The Boob Group did a whole episode on breastfeeding in the military.

So great for your baby and if you want to learn more about that, go to the website for The Boob Group and go to the episode page and check out that episode. Ah Carolyn so what kind of restrictions do pregnant service members had as far as the wprk environment obviously you know being in the military they can you can be working in a hazardous work environment that’s not really great for baby.

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Oh absolutely not.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So initially when you are pregnant there is a kind of a checklist that’s obtained in your work environment to make sure there aren’t any exposures that are hazardous. If there are then you’re immediately excluded from being have any kind of contact with those exposures. Those are honestly quite rare anyway but it is something that is evaluated actually on a patient per patient basis. And then there are just certain other things when it comes to there’s usually a physical you know physical readiness program…


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: That service member needs to participate in but when you’re pregnant you’re except from that so you not need to participate in the in that program however you are recommended to continue your own individual fitness program. So continued fitness…

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah I was going to ask that for like [inaudible] like yeah.

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So you are not required to do the actual the program.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So whatever the physical readiness program is that is being instituted at your command you’re not required to do that – you want to do testing -you don’t have to do the you don’t have to get waived when it comes to that time that you were when you do those kind of things.

ANNIE LAIRD: Getting waived not for your prenatal appointments.



CAROLYN PISZCZEK: [inaudible] doing more.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: But you are expected to have an individualize exercise program just to promote health and wellness of you and your baby…




CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So that’s other thing that you’re kind of in a way exempted from and then there’s also some restrictions that occur once your 28 weeks so once your 28 weeks you can if the command supports it…


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: You can get a restricted to 40 hour work weeks.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So that’s kind of the standard is the 40 hour work week but there are definitely are certain people in the military such as physicians that are exempt from that. So they don’t get the 40 hour work restriction unless there’s a medical need for that.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: And in addition there’s also limits at the amount of time that a patient that’s pregnant can stand at paid rest or any kind of configuration because of obviously limitations of pregnancy…


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: And that people can become dizzy easier and…

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah you don’t want to be in a formation standing for like 3 hours or so.





CAROLYN PISZCZEK: And so there are other restrictions.


SUNNY GAULT: I had a question when it comes to maternity leave and also paternity leave like what does the military say about that? What kind of leave do they give?

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So maternity leave right now is 42 days of convalescent leave when you leave the hospital postpartum so that when it starts.

ANNIE LAIRD: You know what so great about that and I didn’t realize when I left the navy what a good deal that was because I just took for granted like oh like I get basically 6 weeks.


ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah. It’s paid. 100%.




CAROLYN PISZCZEK: No questions ask.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: And then paternity leave is 10 days.

SUNNY GAULT: 10 days. Okay.


ANNIE LAIRD: Now how does that work with 10 days? Is that something that is taken immediately or can be taken immediately or has to be taken immediately?

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: It’s individualize.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So it’s basically base on kind of a lot of it is based on desires of the new parent and then some of it is based on the needs of that unit.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: But it’s really mostly desires of the new parent.

ANNIE LAIRD: Oh okay. So if dad is deployed to Afghanistan you know it’s not necessarily…


ANNIE LAIRD: That he’s going to get to come home for 10 days.

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Oh absolutely not.

ANNIE LAIRD: You know my husband he took it before the baby was born and it was good he did because just they were in the you know every military group has their own training site of you know when you’re home and your home in the base and you have to do your training before you go forward and you deploy. So he took command and then that night I went into labor with my third daughter…


ANNIE LAIRD: And so like he’s I’m pushing the baby out and his new command his department head is calling him going sir are you coming to work today and he’s like no no I’m not but like he went back to work the very next day.

SUNNY GAULT: Oh my gosh.

ANNIE LAIRD: But again it’s all so dependent on what’s going on now with the command you know it’s not like the woman who gives birth goes back right away but for a guy no not necessarily. You know it’s really it’s not a medical condition to stay home with your wife. So you know…Carolyn how long after a woman gives birth and she gets 42 days and then she has to be back at work at that point, how long does she have to get back in the weight standards and like pass her physical readiness exam?

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So for the physical readiness test she will be taking it 6 months after or she’ll be eligible I should say to take it.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: 6 months after returning back to work.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So if she a lot of times there’s only….

ANNIE LAIRD: So at the earliest the baby would be 7 and half months then.



CAROLYN PISZCZEK: And there’s two you know there’s two cycles a year of for at least in the navy for [inaudible] test so it is depends on whether or not you hit that like literally at that 6 month mark.

ANNIE LAIRD: Okay. Now is there any kind of deployment deferment?


ANNIE LAIRD: Okay that’s longer than it used to be. I think I remember when I had my first baby it was lot it was shorter than that. I can’t remember what it was but it wasn’t a year.


ANNIE LAIRD: I think it maybe 6 months.



CAROLYN PISZCZEK: So any operational to or you’re exempt for a year.

ANNIE LAIRD: That really helps with breastfeeding I wonder if that was the catalyst for it because it change.

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: I think it was.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: Sounds like it from my knowledge yes.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: There’s very good data that childhood obesity is decreased with exclusive breastfeeding and that there’re maternal benefits as well. So maternal benefits are decreased in cardio vascular disease and decrease in ovarian cancer. So that’s why the DOD has been very much behind the push to encourage breastfeeding. Now for some women that’s not the right choice. It’s not like we say like you know you need to…

ANNIE LAIRD: Do it or die yeah.

CAROLYN PISZCZEK: You need to breastfeed.


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: We just encourage it because there are benefits…


CAROLYN PISZCZEK: And if it works well for the patient then we definitely want to do the best we can to not interfere with that decision to be exclusively breastfeeding. And ideally 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding is ideal and then up and then obviously that’s when you’re incorporating solid foods in the baby’s diet so that when it becomes you know you’re not exclusively breastfeeding but your still that’s part of the good part of the baby’s diet.

ANNIE LAIRD: Yeah. Big part of baby diet. Exactly. Well thanks lt. commander Piszczek for joining us today. For more information about Lt. Commander Piszczek as well as information about any of our panelists visit the episode page on our website. This conversation continues for members of our Preggie Pals club. After the show Lt. Commander Piszczek is going to be discussing with us a military woman can start planning while they are pregnant for the child care their little ones are going to need shortly after the birth. To join our club visit our website .

[Theme Music]

ANNIE LAIRD: Hi Preggie Pals we’ve have a question for one of our experts. Sherry in Madison Wisconsin writes “I’m a military family with 3 kids already and we just move to a new base and I live 800 miles from my closest family. I’m pregnant with my fourth baby and concerned that I’ll have a hard time managing everything because my husband is going to be deployed when the baby is born. My neighbor and military housing say that I should look into hiring a postpartum doula. I’ve never heard of that before. What does a postpartum do?”

ROSEMARY MASON: Hello this is Rosemary Mason certified postpartum doula and certified lactation counselor. Hi Sherry Thank you for your question and congratulations on your fourth baby. Yes there are two types of doulas, there’s a birth doula who would attend with you to your birth and there are also postpartum doulas. And a postpartum doula comes to your home and helps you with your baby.

So either you know with questions about nursing or bathing or just even now with the fourth one how to kind of group everyone together and continue on doing what you’ve been doing but now you’re adding a fourth child to that. So they also, doulas are also none medical. We’re not there to give any type of medical advice or give any type of medication. We’re there to teach you and give support and information and resources on community.

There’s also a little bit of difference between a postpartum doula and then or a mother’s helper. And probably in your situation, a mother’s helper would probably be more satisfactory in the terms that you pretty much know about diapering and bathing and probably nursing or bottle-feeding your babies. And you may need just more hands-on help and that’s were mother’s helper comes in.

A little lesser than nanny but then she also can you know give you a break so you can be with your older children and help out around the house as well. Most partum doulas they do not do heavy house cleaning or work on that sense that you know make sure you’re getting meals and do some light baby laundry and you know light things around the house. So those are some things that we do. Take care. Bye.

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ANNIE LAIRD: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Preggie Pals.
Don’t forget to check out our sister shows
• Parent Savers for parents with new born, infants and toddlers
• Twin Talks for parents of multiples
• Our show The Boob Group for moms who breastfeed their babies

This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

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