Base Medical vs. Off Base

Base Medical vs. Off base

What’s the difference from going to a doctor/midwife on base versus off base? Many come to this question when it comes time to move to another base or they find themselves pregnant. I have had to figure this out with each pregnancy and it would take a lot of thought of whether I wanted on or off and then if I could even get approved. Here are a few things to think about before you decide and a bit of my own experiences to help you along the way.

We haven’t moved that many times over the years, basically stuck with the three bases. This doesn’t count him going away unaccompanied or over to Iraq. With my first pregnancy I decided to stay with the base doctors as I grew up military and that was all I knew. Not to mention I didn’t have any recommendations, in the end this would prove to be the best possible choice since I gave birth within an hour. I had a wonderful doctor that talked me through everything and always asked if I had questions. I don’t know about you but for me this is the number one thing, I’ve had doctors in the past that basically looked at you and walked out the door after measuring you. Ever have one of those?

The second pregnancy and our next duty station we didn’t really have much of a choice which was good because I would want to go off base anyways. This time around I can’t say I enjoyed my experience, this was the doctor that didn’t ask if I had questions and never explained anything.

The third pregnancy we were at the same base but this time would be dramatically different, he would get sent off to Iraq during the beginning of the pregnancy and not come home until after our little girl was born. I remember getting so many ultrasound pictures with this one. Oh, I finally decided to have a midwife, I’d read so many stories about them I just had to try it. In the end I discovered it was the same as having a regular doctor, this wasn’t one that did much in the whole having the baby early if I could find a sitter and didn’t believe in having the siblings in the room. Would’ve worked great in my case. In the end it was a sour experience plus I developed everything with this pregnancy.

This time around I stuck with the base, after all if it is true that birth comes quicker with each one I’ll be delivering a pizza and need to be as close to the hospital as possible. No time for off base traffic. I’ve also learned that you might get a male doctor, which is no surprise to me but a male nurse on top of that is. I recently went through this, I didn’t even think that was allowed, but when other issues came up I decided I’d rather wait. Don’t get me wrong, I trust but at the same time I don’t, I prefer to have at least one female in the room with me. Another thing is you only get two ultrasounds during your pregnancy these days when you go to a base hospital. One at the very beginning when they decide if you are pregnant and then once around 5 months to determine the sex, after that you are on your own. It’s a big change from when we first began until now, normally I’d say stick with the base… but if you would like more visits or even another ultrasound it won’t be happening. You’re best bet for that would be to start off base.

One thing I have noticed that I don’t remember from my previous pregnancies are they no longer do the urine tests at every visit. I can’t recall if we did them with our first but I know we did with #2 and 3. This time around I’ve had to pee in the cup once and that was to see if I was pregnant or not. Is this just something they’ve done away with or is it just a base thing to save money? What has your experience been with off base vs. on?

Other Military Blog entries:

Why I love the Military Lifestyle

Important Tricare Information for Reservists

Making Base Housing Home