Written by: Lauren – Guest Blogger sharing her perspective as a VA employee and patient during her second pregnancy.
I have reached a milestone! I am now in the second trimester, and even showing a little “baby bump.”
This week I wanted to highlight the Women Veterans Health Clinic social worker. Her name is Shari, and she is a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW). She is responsible for telecase management with our female Veterans at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center. So when my pregnancy tests were positive, my primary care provider assigned her to me to kind of act like a “liaison” between myself and the VA. She called me within the first week of my positive results and asked me basic questions about my health and what resources I needed. She called me again this week and told me she was mailing me a great big pregnancy information book and we continued to talk about how I am feeling, anything I need, etc.
I explained to her about my back pain, how my ultrasound went, my confirmed due date and things of that nature. But I also wanted to try and figure out if I could have a licensed doula be involved in my care.
A doula comes from ancient Greek where it means “a woman who serves”, and now is used as a term for a licensed and trained professional who provides emotional support and information to woman before, during and after birth. Basically kind of like a labor coach. I plan on having a natural birth, so having all of the support I can get would be very helpful. Read more about doulas here.
Shari told me she was going to look into it and get back to me. It is really helpful having a social worker. Not only does it help to have someone to talk to, but it helps having someone who can also put you in touch with the right resources when you need them.
March was actually National Social Worker Month, and if you want to learn more about what social workers do and why they are so important to the VA, click here.
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!