Healthy habits

Karen Bartholet, Public Heatlh Nurse, Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center

Karen Bartholet, Public Health nurse, Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center

Congratulations! Now that you are pregnant, be sure to see your healthcare provider on a regular basis.

If you are an active-duty Soldier, you will need to enroll in the Pregnancy Postpartum Physical Training (P3T) program. The Army P3T Program is a specialized Army physical training and education program developed with Soldier-moms in mind.

The P3T Program is designed in accordance with American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines, and safely addresses the specific fitness needs of Soldiers during pregnancy and postpartum.

However, many women do not find out they are pregnant until they are a month into their pregnancy. By the end of the first month, a baby is about the size of a grain of rice, and vital organs such as the brain, spinal cord, heart, digestive tract, sensory organs, and arm and leg buds are forming.

Be smart. Get off to a good start and give your baby the best chance for a healthy life. Good pre-pregnancy and pre-natal care is essential to facilitate a healthy pregnancy, smooth labor and delivery, and reduce the risk of birth defects and low birth-weight babies.

If you are trying to become pregnant or become pregnant unexpectedly, there are a few important guidelines you should consider. Some of the top guidelines women should focus on are ensuring adequate folic acid intake, consuming a well-balanced diet, getting plenty of activity and avoiding certain unhealthy behaviors.

The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that all women of childbearing age in the United States consume 0.4 mg of folic acid per day to reduce the risk of having a pregnancy affected by spina bifida or other neural tube defects. Folic acid can be found in green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, fortified breakfast cereals, dry beans and peas, breads and rice. Most multivitamins contain 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance.

In 2015, new dietary guidelines for Americans were released, encouraging people to make half their plate fruits and vegetables, half their grains whole grains, use low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt, choose lean proteins, and reduce sodium intake, saturated fats and added sugars.

You can learn how to make healthy food choices and plan meals by going to .

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that pregnant women get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. Regular exercise during pregnancy can help you stay in shape, prepare for labor and delivery, and may reduce physical discomfort.

Exercise also may boost your mood and energy levels, help you sleep better, prevent excessive weight gain, and promote muscle tone, strength and endurance. Before starting an exercise program, make sure to consult with your health care provider.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist, maternal alcohol use is the leading known cause of mental retardation and is a preventable cause of birth defects. Take steps to eliminate alcohol consumption, smoking and drug use. All have been linked to serious complications for both mother and baby.

Family members can also contribute to successful births from the information classes provided through the P3T Program and other pregnancy-focused programs such as Kimbrough Centering classes, Army Community Service’s New Parent Support Program and Gaffney Fitness Center’s prenatal yoga classes.

Enrollment and participation in the P3T Program is mandatory for eligible Soldiers required to go to unit PT. Active-duty pregnant Air Force, Navy and Marine service members are always welcome!

To enroll, call Staff Sgt. Jeffery Trotter at 301-677-7760 or email, or call Karen Bartholet at 301-677-8993 or email

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