Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Physical Therapist Stephanie Loomis knows the physical pain pregnancy can cause.
Having two children of her own and treating women since 1995, Loomis said the pain is often not necessary.
"Pregnant women tend to put up with pain quite often until they have their baby," Loomis said. "I feel it's not necessary to put up with that pain."
Loomis, who owns and operates Steamboat Spine and Sports, said a lot of the pain women go through stems from their poor posture. As a mother interested in helping women with the prenatal cycle, Loomis said her goal is to rid pregnant women of pain.
Loomis said she'll treat almost all women. Even if they don't have insurance, she said she usually will work out a deal with them.
After the initial evaluation, Loomis gives women exercises to use their bodies properly while pregnant. She also focuses on how they sit and stand. The results, she said, are beneficial and astounding.
"When people are in a lot of pain, their body locks up and gets rigid," she said. "If you're able to get through pregnancy without a lot of back or leg pain, your delivery will go a lot better."
Loomis' work with prenatal care is just one of many outlets women have in Steamboat Springs.
Hope Cook, the Prenatal Plus Nurse for the Visiting Nurse Association, said she has seen a baby delivered unhealthy too many times.
Whether it's because the mother hasn't had the right nutrition or exercise or because she's smoked or used drugs, Cook says there are options out there for mothers.
"The babies are impacted their entire life," she said. "You would think young women would know this, but sometimes they don't. Like any public health program, we are into prevention."
Under Cook, the VNA has a program for uninsured mothers-to-be called Prenatal Plus. The focus of the program is on education to prepare the women for pregnancy. She said she talks about nutrition, exercise and the warning signs during pregnancy that might lead to complications. She also can refer women to a social worker if necessary.
Cook said she also makes sure each woman is pregnant and then checks with the finance department to see whether the woman could qualify for Medicaid. She also tries to set women up with doctors.
Cook said her main efforts are trying to get the women Medicaid because of the price of prenatal care. Cook said prenatal care can cost between $4,000 and $7,000.
After a baby is born, Cook will make a home visit to see how the transition has gone. Unfortunately, Cook said, she can't help unless the woman is deemed at-risk.
"I think that we are trying very hard to address the prenatal care for women who otherwise wouldn't be getting it," she said.
The VNA also has several other programs to help women with prenatal care. For first-time mothers, the Nurse Family Partnership provides an educational program to uninsured women. The program is state-funded and follows the women through pregnancy and the first two years of their babies' lives.
"It's designed to improve the pregnancy outcome by improving the mother's health," registered nurse Wendy Bower said. "We want to improve child health and development by helping parents provide responsible and competent care for their children."
First Arrival, funded by Yampa Valley Medical Center, also sees how the transition goes. Their program is limited to moderate- to high-risk babies. The Family Learning Center also provides a Newborn Network Service through which volunteers visit with mothers to see how the transition is going.
Anyone interested in prenatal care options can call the VNA at 879-1632. Those interested in Loomis' treatments can call 879-7031.