Women’s Health Week: Maternity Care

For women, health becomes more important than ever when it's time to plan for, or have children. It's a joyous time that can be nerve-wracking, and at times, downright scary.

For women, health becomes more important than ever when it's time to plan for, or have children.

It's a joyous time that can be nerve-wracking, and at times, downright scary.

The journey isn't just about women, as dads, grandparents, big brothers and sisters are vital to making sure mom and baby are as healthy as can be.

During Women’s Health Week here at WTOV9, we 'retake you inside the delivery rooms, where Natasha Hartley and her husband Adam, of Shadyside, are awaiting the arrival of their second child at Wheeling Hospital.

But it's their first caesarian section.

“A little bit of a panic,” Natasha said. “Just making sure that everything goes right. (I’ve) never had anything like that major of surgery.”

In a room nearby, Betty Sells, of Proctor, W.Va., cradles her bundle of joy. She just delivered her third baby. Isabella Grace is her first girl.

“Well it's nerve-racking because she's so little,” Sells said. “I haven't held anybody this little for a while.”

Two different women, two different stories -- a reminder that no two baby stories are the same. That's why communication with your doctor is so crucial, even before you conceive.

“There are certain vitamins and things they can give you, and I think it's important that you keep your prenatal appointments, make sure that you go for all of the testing that your physician orders,” said Cara Gazdik, clinical director of nursing at Wheeling Hospital.

Gazdik urges you to call your doctor as soon as you suspect you're pregnant, and expect to be seen at about 6-to-8 weeks.

“What we want is a mother and a baby that's born healthy and surely that is impacted the entire 9 months,” Gazdik said.

Your doctor will help you figure out the do's and don'ts of diet and exercise -- and how to make healthy lifestyle choices. Plus, they'll make sure any medications you take don't harm your baby.

If it's your second or third child, don't assume everything will be the same as the first.

“The changes in your body may occur at different rates for consecutive pregnancies,” said Wendy Cook, nurse manager of labor and delivery. “They're often supposed to be an easier labor and delivery. Sometimes that doesn't happen though. It just depends."

Cook reminds the partners that a pregnant woman is dealing with hormone fluctuations and a lot of emotions.

“And so just be kind of patient, understanding, supportive,” Cook said. “They do require a lot more rest, especially earlier on in pregnancy, and that’s the one thing you want to make sure you get, you get your rest.”

Remember that a new baby will impact everyone in the family.

You may consider any number of classes, including those that help siblings prepare to become big brothers and sisters.

Wheeling Hospital allowed us into the operating room to see where it does C-sections. There is a lot of equipment, but there's something in particular in the delivery room of interest -- a monitor. When the mother is still in surgery and the baby is taken to the nursery, a camera allows mom to witness the family meeting the baby for the very first time.

It's a time in a woman's life she will never forget.

It's also a time of added challenges for some women who are addicted to drugs during pregnancy.

Holly Sroka is a registered nurse who works as Wheeling Hospital's transition coordinator.

She helps women who test positive for substances seek counseling and get specialized treatment from a physician.

“I think it's very important to just follow their treatment plan when they're working with their treatment physician at a treatment center,” Sroka said. “That needs to be an open discussion with them as well as the obstetrician and have a plan in place for a healthy delivery and what to expect afterward.”

No matter what experience, there's a lot think about when you're bringing a baby into this world. But don't let that take away from what's really important.

“Just to be happy and healthy,” Natasha said. “I know that's like the line but that's at this point; that's we want.”

“Just how blessed I am to have a little baby, she's too cute,” Sells said. “She's adorable ....”

Wheeling hospital has had its share of births -- 1,286 last year alone. It's the most the hospital has ever had.

A national independent health care rating service called CareChex ranked Wheeling Hospital's maternity services in the top 10 percent in the nation for medical care, low complications, patient safety, and overall care.

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