Get strong for your baby: TRICARE tips for expecting moms

  • Published
  • By Shari Lopatin
  • TriWest Healthcare Alliance
With Mother's Day approaching, many women find themselves smiling--some experiencing motherhood for the first time, and others ready to welcome another addition into the family.

Expecting moms have a lot to be excited about, including having a healthy child. Luckily, TRICARE covers regular doctor visits during pregnancy as part of its maternity health coverage. Take this chance talk to your doctor or obstetrician about any health concerns you may have, as well as any medications you are taking.

Although following proper prenatal care as prescribed by a doctor or obstetrician helps to ensure a smooth pregnancy, expecting moms can take additional precautions to avoid a condition called gestational diabetes that affects about 135,000 pregnant women each year, according to the American Diabetes Association.

The ADA defines gestational diabetes as temporary high blood sugar, or glucose, levels that develop in approximately four percent of American women late in their pregnancy. A baby with increased glucose levels may gain too much weight in vitro, along with an increased chance of childhood obesity and higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes as an adult.

Fortunately, moms can do many things to prevent it.

Whether you're pregnant or preparing to become pregnant, take these tips from to stay healthy and deter gestational diabetes:

* Belly-up to fiber. Women who eat fiber-rich foods such as dark breads, fruit and certain cereals before becoming pregnant are less likely to form gestational diabetes.
* Eat smart. Eat a healthy diet and start taking a daily multivitamin with 0.4mg of folic acid to reduce the chances of having a child with birth defects.
* Cut it out. Cut down on caffeine, avoid tobacco smoke, and stay away from alcohol while you're pregnant, all of which could harm your baby.

After the baby

Once that healthy bundle arrives, remember to update your family information in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS. Keep in mind, if you don't add your new child into DEERS within the first year, DEERS will show "loss of eligibility," and the child will no longer be able to receive any TRICARE benefits. See the "Life Changing Events" section of under the "beneficiary" section for more information.

The next step is to enroll your newborn in TRICARE Prime. New parents have 60 days from the date of birth, or adoption, to enroll their child into TRICARE Prime. After 60 days, claims will process as TRICARE Standard or Extra, with associated deductibles and cost-shares. You can visit to enroll in TRICARE Prime online

Parents can always refer to or the TRICARE Prime handbook available on for an overview of covered benefits and a suggested immunization schedule for children in TriWest's Healthy Living Portal.