If you are a woman Veteran thinking about starting or expanding your family VA provides full maternity care coverage, as well as the first 7 days of newborn care. Services are usually provided by a pregnancy care provider and hospital in your community and coordinated by your VA Maternity Care Coordinator.
Jenny Fisher, who is an Army Veteran with four years in Iraq and dealing with PTSD, looked for help with her pregnancy at the VA Medical Center in New York City. She delivered her lovely daughter, Simone, with the help and support of VA Women’s Health.
VA supports you deciding when motherhood is right for you. Whether you want to start or grow your family or choose a birth control method to prevent pregnancy, VA has a full range of services to support your reproductive goals.
Jenny Fisher thinks it’s a good idea. “I was 100% satisfied with my care at the VA. They were great.”
A planned pregnancy is a healthier pregnancy. It’s always better to talk with your health care provider about being healthy and preparing for pregnancy (preconception care) whether you want to become pregnant soon or maybe sometime in the future. Visit our Women’s Health website where you will find a healthy checklist, a reproductive life plan and other resources to help you manage your pregnancy goals.
Ashley Chadwell bounces three-year-old Liam on her knee and says, “I am glad I went to the VA. Doctor Zephyrin was great. I would definitely recommend that women Veterans thinking about a family visit to their VA hospital and see how they can help.”
Ashley needed to have her medications carefully monitored by her VA doctors during her pregnancy. “Everything went really well.”
We know that some women Veterans may need help getting pregnant. We offer infertility services including counseling, infertility assessment and some infertility treatment. We are here to guide you through the process and provide emotional support.
As Dr. Laurie Zephyrin points out, “There are very exciting innovations going on in the VA around maternity care.” She is VA’s National Director for Reproductive Health.
VA is marking National Women’s Health Week by promoting a Women and Maternity Care campaign nationwide to raise awareness of VA’s maternity benefits among VHA providers, staff and women Veterans. In addition to maternity and newborn benefits, VA offers a full range of reproductive health services including preconception care, birth control (contraception care), and care for women entering the menopausal transition.
April Andrews, former Army Medic, delivered a cute little bundle of joy through the prenatal and postpartum care program at the Salt Lake City VA Medical Center. VA maternity benefits also covered her delivery and newborn care. After years in the Army and a tour in Iraq, April says she is comforted by visiting the women’s clinic and being around other female Veterans.
“I love my VA. When I go to the Women’s Clinic I feel like I am going to my girlfriend’s house. I feel like they truly care about me.”
Dr. Zephyrin adds, “VA covers a wide range of maternity benefits. Many of our women Veterans receive this care through community health care providers. We want to make sure women Veterans are receiving the highest quality maternity care.”
VA knows that some women Veterans want to prevent pregnancy until they are ready to start a family. That’s why we offer a wide-variety of birth control options. Talk to your VA health care provider to choose the best birth control method for your lifestyle.
When choosing a birth control method consider: your future pregnancy plans, your relationship or partner status and your general medical health. Make sure you tell your provider about all of your health issues and medicines.
VA also offers emergency contraception options to reduce your risk for an unplanned pregnancy if you have unprotected sex or your regular birth control fails.
Dr. Zephyrin concludes, “When women Veterans come to VA, they may be surprised to see the range of services that we provide. We are undergoing a transformation in Women’s Health Services including reproductive health services nationally.”
Hans Petersen is an Air Force Veteran, and is currently a writer and editor for the Veterans Health Administration. In the past, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nigeria, a radio talk show host, and won a PBS Emmy for his One Man Show as “Tom Paine” on KUED-TV in Utah.