Watauga Medical Center

Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers

Did you know:baby

  • Breastfeeding decreases the possibility that babies will get ear infections, diarrhea, and a variety of infectious diseases?
  • Children who were breastfed have lower rates of obesity and higher intelligence scores?
  • Moms who breastfeed return to their postpartum weight faster?
  • Breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of ovarian cancer?

For these and other reasons, the American Academy of Pediatrics supports breastfeeding and provides education to help new mothers and give them the resources they need.

At Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, we also provide resources and support for breastfeeding moms through our Marchese Birthing Center at Watauga Medical Center. Our lactation consultants and lactation educators are available during the hospital stay and even after mom and baby go home. They can be contacted by calling (828) 262-4285.

This week, August 1-7, is World Breastfeeding Week, a time set aside to promote breastfeeding and provide education. Efforts like this and promotions from other organizations have definitely helped spread the word. According to the CDC, breastfeeding rates continue to rise, and in 2011, 79 percent of newborn infants started to breastfeed. Yet in many cases, breastfeeding doesn’t continue for as long as recommended. Of infants born in 2011, 49 percent were breastfeeding at 6 months, and 27 percent at 12 months.

This decline is part of what inspired this year’s theme for World Breastfeeding Week, “Let’s Make it Work.” Some of the objectives of this year’s initiatives include helping making workplaces more family friendly and to encourage employers to actively facilitate and support employed women who continue to breastfeed once they return to work.

There are many different reasons why women might not continue to breast feed longer than the first few weeks or months of their baby’s life. Sometimes it is a painful process, or the baby has problems latching on. Sometimes the mother simply doesn’t produce enough milk. And in some cases, it is just too hard to find a way to pump at work. We are supportive of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week initiative, because we know how important it is to breastfeeding mothers to have an encouraging environment at work. ARHS has a nursing mother’s room for employees at Watauga Medical Center, Cannon Memorial Hospital and Blowing Rock Rehabilitation that provides a private, comfortable setting for a lactating mother to express breast milk for her nursing child. Breast pumps are available in each room and pumping kit supplies can be ordered for employees at cost. A cooler for storing the expressed milk is provided free of charge.

Our society has come a long way in supporting breastfeeding, but we still have a long way to go. We encourage all new mothers to take advantage of the resources available at the Marchese Birthing Center. The support we give continues long after you and your baby are discharged, and having a good support network during breastfeeding can make a big difference in how long new moms continue their efforts.

For more information, call (828) 262-4285.



Hospitals to conduct Emergency Preparedness Exercise

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) will conduct an emergency preparedness exercise at Cannon Memorial Hospital on Tuesday, April 14 and at Watauga Medical Center on Wednesday, April 15.

The exercise is intended to improve the local response and collaborative decision-making ability of the hospitals, local fire departments and local emergency services.

Emergency Sign

The emergency exercise scenarios at both hospitals will be caused by a plausible yet fictitious fire on campus. There will not be an actual fire during either exercise, however, the public may witness smoke rising from Cannon Memorial Hospital on August 14 and from Watauga Medical Center on August 15.

The exercise will take place in unoccupied patient units and will utilize staff not assigned to work that day. Patients at both facilities will not be affected or at risk at any time during the exercise. All services and scheduled procedures will continue as normal. The exercise time will not been made public to preserve the integrity of the event.

The annual emergency preparedness exercises are another way that ARHS and local emergency agencies partner to make life better and safer in the High Country.

For more information contact Gillian Baker, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, at 828-262-8958.

Keep Your Blood Flowing with Healthy Arteries

Think of your heart as a central traffic hub, and your arteries are the freeways that allow things to keep moving. No one wants a traffic jam in their bodies. When blood can’t flow through at the rate it’s supposed to, it puts us at a higher risk for blood clots, stroke or a heart attack.

February is Heart Month, and we’re celebrating in many ways. Maybe you attended our Heart Shape event, or you’re wearing red to bring attention to the incidence of heart disease in women.

We also have another event that will help you find out just how much of your arteries are clogged, and whether the freeways in your body are running smoothly or are starting to look like a 5:00 traffic jam in Atlanta.

On Tuesday, February 24, Watauga Medical Center is offering an AngioScreen® vascular screening, for $20. The screening is a simple procedure that provides you with information about your heart rhythm, neck and leg arteries and your circulation, giving you a sense of your own risk for heart disease and stroke.

Healthy ArteryKnowing your AngioScreen® score is helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but there are other ways to help prevent clogged arteries as well. One way to help prevent clogged arteries is by controlling your cholesterol levels through diet. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables while staying away from saturated fats is the best way to keep your cholesterol levels in check. That means meals with broccoli, leafy greens, zucchini and peppers. For proteins, switch out red meat for fish, turkey or chicken for a lighter, lower cholesterol option.

It’s also important to limit your sodium intake. The average American eats 3,600 mg of sodium a day, but the American Heart Association says we should aim for no more than 1,500 mg per day. Eating fewer processed foods, limiting the amount of salt you use when you cook, and buying low or no-salt versions of canned foods are all simple ways to decrease your sodium intake.

And of course, regular exercise is an important part of warding off cardiovascular disease. Get yourself moving by walking your dog, riding your bike, or running with a friend, and your heart will thank you!

To reserve your appointment time for a vascular screening, call (828) 268-8960.

Give the Gift of Life: Give Blood

The slogan used by the American Red Cross has become familiar to us over the years, but don’t let its familiarity weaken its impact. What they’re saying is true. Every time you donate blood, you’re giving the gift of life to another person. And what better time to do that then now, during the holidays when gift-giving season is upon us?

blood dropBlood donations typically fall during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is understandable as so many of us are busy with parties, shopping trips, baking special treats and spending time with extended family. But taking an hour or so out of just one day to help keep the blood banks filled can make a big difference in someone’s life.

What is your blood used for? Blood transfusions are used in many different ways to treat people, including:

  • Cancer patients
  • Burn patients
  • Premature babies
  • Victims of traumatic injuries
  • People undergoing various forms of surgery

In addition to helping others, taking time to donate blood can also be helpful for you. Before you can be stuck with the needle, someone will take your blood pressure, check your pulse and record your hemoglobin, so it’s like a free health screening!

The American Red Cross makes it easy to find a blood drive near you with their Locate a Blood Drive page, and there are quite a few in our area during the month of December, including one at Watauga Medical Center on December 29. See you there!

The North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition Presents Watauga Medical Center with a Golden Bow Award

YOU ARE INVITED to a Golden Bow Award Ceremony, at which the North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition will honor Watauga Medical Center’s efforts to protect and promote the health of mothers and children. The Ceremony will be held in the waiting room area on the third floor of Watauga Medical Center on Wednesday, October 29, at 5 pm.

The North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition (NCBC) is awarding Golden Bow Awards to select maternity facilities that refuse to advertise on behalf of infant formula companies, and therein support the health of mothers and babies.

The Golden Bow Awards are a way to commend hospitals for stopping the distribution of infant formula companies’ bags to new mothers. Members of the North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition are prepared to support their local hospitals in making this same decision. And, when the formula bags are out of the facilities, the Coalition will proudly honor hospital leaders with Golden Bow Awards.

Formula manufacturers label their bags as “free gifts,” but Golden Bow Award recipients choose instead to promote health and are therefore denying formula companies opportunities to advertise infant formula – a product that has negative economic and health consequences for mothers and babies. Research indicates that the marketing of breast milk substitutes in healthcare settings decreases the rates of breastfeeding initiation, duration, and exclusivity. The removal of these powerful forces of formula marketing from these hospitals means that North Carolina women will be more likely to give their babies the best start in life through breastfeeding.

The North Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition brings together breastfeeding advocates, health care providers, agencies, individuals, organizations and families to support, protect and promote breastfeeding in the state of North Carolina. Founded in 2005, NCBC provides a forum for development and exchange of resources for families and breastfeeding professionals. The vision of NCBC is to ensure that exclusive and continued breastfeeding is the norm in North Carolina.

To learn more about the Golden Bow Award call 919-630-4460 or visit www.apprhs.org/golden-bow.  To learn more about Watauga Medical Center visit www.apprhs.org.