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

The Military Health System and Defense Health Agency Communications and Public Affairs Division Ask the Doc: How Can the Military Health System Help Me Through My Pregnancy?


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 


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 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.





*Learn more at TRICARE/DHA and read more posts like this M:M Expert Author Blog.




  • Defense Health Agency

    The Defense Health Agency is a joint, integrated Combat Support Agency that enables the Army, Navy, and Air Force medical services to provide a medically ready force and ready medical force to Combatant Commands in both peacetime and wartime. Their mission is to provide a medical benefit commensurate with the service and sacrifice of more than 9.6 million active duty personnel, military retirees and their families.


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Supporting Our Military Children

Supporting Our Military Children

One thing that has been most important to me, as a military spouse, is figuring out how to best do this life while supporting our children with the changes and difficulties. When my children were very small, there were many times that my husband was away, and I had to parent my children alone.

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