Renae Hall carefully studied her benefits’ information. Her job as a research technician in health care brought her in contact with doctors and scientists daily, and she understood just how important it is to stay healthy.
Renae had read about the MedCost SmartStarts program that offered information and support from a prenatal nurse during pregnancy. When she became pregnant for the first time at age 36, she knew that complications could arise based on a number of risk factors.
Renae decided to enroll in SmartStarts. She also was motivated by a financial incentive offered by her employer for participating in the program.
“I had never been pregnant before — this was my first pregnancy. I wanted to be more aware of what to expect, to eat healthy and know what medicines to avoid.”
Renae was understandably hesitant when SmartStarts nurse Tammy Shaw, RN, BSN, first called to introduce herself.
“I didn’t want to be judged by a stranger,” Renae said. “It took some time for us to bond.”
Tammy took time to answer all of Renae’s questions, sharing educational resources and videos. This proved to be a valuable lifeline for Renae, who found that visits with her doctor were often too short to cover everything she wanted to know about pregnancy and childbirth.
Renae felt more prepared to experience labor and delivery as she studied the resources that her prenatal nurse sent her. When Renae failed a diabetes test, diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy, Tammy sent specific nutritional, related information. On the second diabetes test, Renae was happy to discover that her efforts had paid off. She passed.
During labor, baby Andrea’s heart rate dropped. A C-section revealed that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. Even after Renae successfully delivered Andrea, Tammy followed up with several postpartum phone calls, offering support and resources in this new time of life.
“We had a personal connection,” said Renae, now a happy mother of healthy daughter Andrea. She is continuing the healthy habits that her SmartStarts nurse shared during her pregnancy, such as cutting down on carbohydrates and drinking enough water.
Renae wants her story to encourage other families expecting a child to participate in SmartStarts.
“Be as educated as possible on the subject to make you and your baby as healthy as possible,” Renae advised. “Know that other families are going through the same thing.”
“Tammy was awesome and really cared about me. She said: ‘I’m always here for you. Just give me a call.’ ”