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MARY MEAUX — Medical Center helping with healthy moms, babies

A lot has changed, for the good, with resources for moms and expectant moms through the years.

Part of that positive change happened at The Medical Center of Southeast Texas, which earned the Texas Ten Step designation for providing excellent maternity care.

The designation was celebrated earlier this week in the Women’s Services Unit at the hospital and comes from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

The folks I spoke with — Chief Medical Officer Dr. Greg Mennie, director of Women’s Services Candice Pena, lactation consultant Michelle Bordelon and neonatology Dr. Snehl Doshi — are passionate about health care, as are the numerous other members of their team.

Breastfeeding is a big factor in the health of babies, and the hospital has created a special place, called a private lactation room, for employees who are breastfeeding moms. It provides a place for them to pump milk or nurse their babies. It may also be used by vendors, students and visitors that may not want to breastfeed in front of another person.

Experts in the field of breastfeeding are available, and there are free classes to teach moms the basics and offer support. The class is also available in Spanish.

Free childbirth classes are offered, too, going over everything from how to take care of your body before and after delivery, as well as how to take care of your newborn.

Many years ago when my children were born they did not spend a lot of time in the room with me. A nurse would bring the baby in for me to feed, then the baby would go back to the nursery. Nowadays mothers and infants remain together 24 hours a day.

The hospital also offers a free support group for mothers called Moms Offering Moms Support, or M.O.M.S., which covers a variety of subjects. Family support is encouraged because sometimes the family doesn’t quite understand what the mom is going through.

Dr. Mennie said the whole goal for The Medical Center and Steward Healthcare is partnering with the community to empower the women to achieve their goals.

“So the husband needs to understand, sometimes the children need to understand and sometimes the grandparents need to understand. A lot of these families are extended and they’re living together as an extended family, multi-generational,” Mennie said. “It allows the family as a whole to be empowered, too, as to what mom’s going through.”

Some moms feel like they’re the only one going through a particular situation, when in fact it is something shared by many. These classes help with that.

The hospital also offers an infant CPR class for infants to 12 months for free.

For scheduling information for any of the classes and to register, go to medicalcentersetexas.org.

The hospital is located at 2555 Jimmy Johnson Blvd.

Mary Meaux is a reporter for The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at mary.meaux@panews.com.