Story by Patricia Beal on 09/14/2019WOMACK ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, FORT BRAGG, N.C. More than 300 pregnant women, soon-to-be dads, parents of infants, and those planning on having a baby soon participated in Saturday's semiannual Fort Bragg Maternity Fair.
Beneficiaries learned about having a baby at WAMC, infant care and self-care.
The event included tours of labor and delivery and of the women and newborn unit, information about midwifery services, lactation, and anesthesia options. Attendants participated in classes on maternity yoga, safe sleep, infant massage, baby blues, and fatherhood.
"The maternity fair is a great opportunity to be empowered with information about your health," said Hospital Commander Col. John J. Melton during an early morning Facebook Live.
Pamela Riis came to get a refresher.
Her first child was born at Womack in June of 2017. Daddy was here for that birth, but he is deployed and won't be back in time for the birth of their second child, also a boy, in early November.
"I'm okay," said Riis, who came to the maternity fair with her sister and sister-in-law. "Chasing a toddler is what's hard. It's been a good pregnancy. I know this hospital, and I'm comfortable. I want to deliver here."
Groups of about 20 to 30 people toured labor and delivery and the mother and newborn unit every thirty minutes during the five-hour event.
"We want you to feel empowered," said Spc. Najala Segura, a labor and delivery baby nurse, during a tour. "Ask questions. Make requests. If you feel empowered, you'll be strong to deliver."
For maternity fair registration volunteer Linda Steadman, a certified nursing assistant at Joel Clinic, this will be a day to remember.
At approximately 11 a.m., a young woman entering the building via the Reilly Road entrance stopped halfway.
"She was screaming, and at first I didn't know what was happening," Steadman said. "I went out to help. She was in labor and felt that she had to push. She couldn't sit on the wheelchair, so we called for assistance."
Steadman stayed with the woman until a gurney arrived along with labor and delivery, emergency, and newborn intensive care unit personnel.
Mom delivered the baby four minutes after arriving at the labor and delivery unit. She and the baby are doing well.
The woman's mother and the baby's father both thanked Steadman for jumping into action.
Steadman, a first time maternity fair volunteer, said she will volunteer again next time.
An average of eight babies are born at WAMC every day, and the hospital record is 21 babies in a 24-hour period.
The hospital hosts two maternity fairs every year and is always looking to improve services and expand educational programs.
The next maternity fair will be in April of 2020.