Health Literacy: What It Is and Why It Matters?

Photo of doctor meeting with patient

Your doctor has given you a new diagnosis or prescription. Now what? 

That’s where health literacy comes in.

“It’s the ability of an individual to understand basic health information well enough to provide adequate care for himself or herself,” says Cynthia Adams, RN, a diabetes educator with University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center

Health literacy is important for many reasons. If patients don’t have a good grasp of their medical issues or medications, they can do things that make the condition worse. 

“For example, a person with diabetes needs to be careful to eat the right amount of carbohydrates, or carbs for short, which are foods and drinks that turn to sugar when they are digested,” Adams says. “Eating or drinking too many or too few carbs can make blood sugar rise.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, health literacy affects people’s ability to:

  • Navigate the health care system, including filling out complex forms and locating providers and services
  • Share personal information, such as health history, with providers
  • Engage in self-care and chronic-disease management
  • Understand mathematical concepts such as probability and risk

Health literacy is the responsibility of the patient, certainly. But it’s also the responsibility of health care providers and public health systems. Many factors come into play, including culture, language barriers, and the communication skills of patients and medical professionals. Understanding these factors and seeking to overcome them is essential.

Citing a variety of recent studies, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine highlighted just a few of the negative outcomes associated with low health literacy:

  • People with low health literacy have a lower likelihood of getting flu shots, understanding medical labels and instructions, and a greater likelihood of taking medicines incorrectly compared with adults with higher health literacy 
  • Individuals with limited health literacy reported poorer health status and were less likely to use preventative care
  • Individuals with low levels of health literacy are more likely to be hospitalized and have bad disease outcomes 
  • Inpatient spending increases by approximately $993 for patients with limited health literacy 
  • After controlling for relevant covariates, lower health literacy scores were associated with high mortality rates within a Medicare managed care setting
  • The annual cost of low health literacy to the U.S. economy was $106 billion to $238 billion

As a patient, a parent or a caregiver, the most important thing you can do to improve your health literacy is to ask questions, Adams said.  

If the doctor gives you a new diagnosis, ask every question that comes to mind until you are sure you understand the basics. Request handouts and look into classes or support groups on the condition. And take advantage of the hospital’s patient learning channel, which provides web-based medical information.

When you pick up your medicine, have the pharmacist explain what it’s for and how often to take it, including any special instructions.

“So make sure you understand about your medical conditions and your medicines so that you can take good care of yourself,” Adams concludes.

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Where to Get a Free Flu Shot in Charles County, Maryland

Photo of person receiving flu shot in their upper arm

No health insurance? Insurance doesn’t cover the entire cost of the seasonal flu vaccine?

You don’t have to go without a flu shot just because you can’t afford one. The Charles County Department of Health understands how important the seasonal flu vaccine is to public health, which is why they are once again hosting a handful of free vaccination clinics and offering free flu shots during the 2019 flu season.

These clinics are 100 percent free and accept walk-ins during the times outlined below. These clinics will also be offering Flu Mist© (nasal spray) vaccinations this year.

Dates and Times of Free Flu Vaccine Clinics

Thursday, October 17 | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Benjamin Stoddert Middle School
2040 St. Thomas Drive, Waldorf, MD 20602

Tuesday, October 29 | 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Piccowaxen Middle School
12834 Rock Point Road, Newburg, MD 20664

Thursday, November 7 | 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Smallwood Middle School
4990 Indian Head Highway, Indian Head, MD 20640

Tuesday, November 12 | 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Westlake High School
3300 Middletown Road, Waldorf, MD 20603

Free Flu Shots/Nasal Spray Offered Throughout Flu Season
If you can’t make it to any of the clinics noted above, the Charles County Department of Health offers free walk-in flu vaccinations from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. Their office is located at 4545 Crain Highway, White Plains, MD 20695.

For more information about any of the free clinics or walk-in vaccinations, please call (301) 609-6900.

Why the Flu Vaccine is Important

Don’t think you need to get a flu shot? Think again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone over the age of six months receive the yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against widespread flu viruses.

In addition to protecting yourself from getting the flu, the seasonal flu vaccine also plays an important role in protecting those around you, especially members of the community who are most vulnerable, such as infants, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. And if that’s not reason enough, just think about how much time and money you can save by taking preventive measures rather than having to visit the doctor or getting medication after you become sick.

Simple Ways to Limit the Spread of the Flu

Getting the seasonal flu vaccine is a great first step in protecting yourself and those around you, but you should also follow these simple tips recommended by the CDC:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible
  • Limit contact with others if you become sick
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with viruses or bacteria

To learn more about the seasonal flu and ways to protect yourself and your family, visit the CDC’s official website.

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Celebrating 25 Years of Annual Crab Feasts on October 17

25th Annual Crab Feast

80 years as Southern Maryland’s hospital. 25 years of crab feasts for a cause. That’s what we’re celebrating on Thursday, October 17, at Captain Billy’s Crab House in Newburg, MD, at the 25th Annual Crab Feast.

This annual tradition, organized by the CRMC Foundation, includes a wide variety of options for seafood-lovers, including all-you-can-eat crabs. And while you enjoy waterfront views from one of the area’s favorite restaurants, you can try your luck in the 50/50 raffle or indulge your sweet tooth with a spin of the cake wheel.

Full menu pricing and ticket options are available on CRMCfoundation.org, but here’s a glimpse at this year’s selections:

  • All-You-Can-Eat Crabs
  • Shrimp and Crabs Mini Feast
  • Chicken Breast Platter
  • Fried Shrimp Basket
  • Fried Oyster Basket
  • Broiled Crab Cake and Tilapia Platter
  • Cheeseburger and Fries
  • Children’s Platter (ages 8 and under)

Tickets can be purchased online using the button below but are also available at the door.

Purchase Tickets

Proceeds from this event benefit the CRMC Foundation as they help equip nursing units, fund improvements for imaging and social services, and bridge the gap and reduce barriers to care through health initiatives for our expanding community.

A limited number of sponsorship opportunities are still available! Sponsors of CRMC Foundation events receive exposure on the Foundation’s website and social media before and after the event — it’s a great way to support a worthy cause and get your business or organization in front of an active and engaged audience. For more information about sponsorship, use the button below or call (301) 609-4319.

Become a Sponsor

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Celebrating 80 Years: The Fifth Decade (1979-1989)

Celebrating 80 Years: The Fifth Decade

The hospital had expanded enough by 1979 to treat the needs of most patients. Some specialty needs for at-risk individuals, however, still required further equipment and care. So when those times came around, the hospital team was ready.

In 1979, the hospital team called in a helicopter to transport a premature baby for additional treatment. This was yet another example of the team at Physicians Memorial Hospital going the extra (aerial) mile to support the community that had supported it for decades.

While absolutely vital, these airlifts to bigger city hospitals were expensive for patients and could be cumbersome for all involved, so the board members set out to find a more permanent solution.

The team didn’t want to send needy patients to better hospitals. They wanted to build a better hospital. 

To reduce the need for helicopter travel, curb hospital crowding, and better serve the community as a whole, another new expansion was planned and built. 

This $5 million facility was dedicated on September 11, 1983, by Dr. James Parren Jarboe, former president and secretary-treasurer of the Charles County Medical Society and president of the Maryland chapter of the American College of Surgeons. It added 130 new beds to the facility, along with other state-of-the-art enhancements.

Another sign of the growing importance and reputation of health care in Charles County came in December 1987, when Ted Kennedy Jr. visited our beloved Charles County.

Stay tuned to our blog for upcoming stories about our hospital over the decades. And be sure to follow us on Facebook — we’ll be sharing facts and photos from over the past eight decades throughout 2019.

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Why Do I Need a Primary Care Physician?

Photo of Dr. Childress looking at a patient in a primary care office

According to a 2018 study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 45 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 28 percent of 30- to 40-year-olds didn’t have a primary care provider. 

Does this mean you shouldn’t have one either?

If that question is on our mind, let’s start by taking a look at some important facts about primary care.

FACT #1: Having a Primary Care Doctor Can Help Your Health

In a 2019 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers surveyed 49,286 adults with and 21,133 adults without primary care. They concluded that those with primary care received significantly better care than those without. 

FACT #2: Having a Primary Care Physician Tends to Provide a Better Healthcare Experience

In this same study, those who regularly visited a primary care provider reported significantly better health care access and experiences than those who did not. Consistent care made people more confident in the quality of care they receive and more knowledgeable about their health. 

FACT #3: A “Medical Home” Comes with Benefits

When you regularly visit a primary care physician, you have one point person who can refer you to specialists as needed. They also monitor your progress through treatment, following up to ensure you are healing. 

“Your primary care physician essentially serves as your ‘medical home’,” said Dr. Childress, a primary care physician at University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Group – Primary Care. “We are part of a growing network of talented medical professionals. So when we refer you to a specialist, we can keep track of your care throughout your time with them.”

FACT #4: Self-Referrals Can Be Costly (to Your Wallet and Health)

Without a primary care physician to monitor their health, people often go directly to the specialist they think is best when a problem arises. Maybe they are experiencing chest pain, so they visit a cardiologist. 

But what happens if those tests can’t determine the problem? If the chest pain is caused by something other than a cardiac condition — such as a gastrointestinal issue or a lung problem — the patient will be stuck searching for the right specialist, traveling to different offices and, most likely, incurring increasing out-of-pocket expenses. 

“Working with a primary care physician can end up eliminating the need for many costly tests,” says Kelli Goldsborough, a nurse practitioner at University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Group – Primary Care. “You’ll end up saving precious time and money by getting a professional opinion instead of guessing on your own.”

FACT #5: Primary Care Physicians Take a Holistic Approach to Health Care

The primary focus of your physician is on taking every aspect of how you feel into account and creating a complete picture of your health care. They can save you time and money by evaluating your health instead of focusing on the treatment of individual symptoms. 

Countless reports emphasize the need for regular visits with a primary care physician. If you want to get or keep your health on track, it is highly recommended that you start developing a relationship with one.

So are you ready to find a primary care physician you can trust? Or are you looking for more information about how regular visits with a primary care physician can help you? Call 301-609-5044 or visit our website to make your appointment today.

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5 Essential Facts You Need to Know About High Cholesterol

photo of a heart and stethoscope

How much do you know about high cholesterol? It’s an important topic and not just because it’s National Cholesterol Education Month in the United States but also because high cholesterol represents a significant health risk for millions of Americans.

With all the information that’s out there about cholesterol, it can be hard to know exactly where to begin. So here are five of the most essential things you should know about cholesterol right now:

If You Have High Cholesterol, You’re Not Alone

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high cholesterol is a relatively common condition in the United States, with 95 million adults over the age of 20 having total cholesterol levels above the recommended level. Moreover, the CDC estimates that about 43 million of those people are currently taking medicine to manage their cholesterol levels.

What this means is that high cholesterol is not something to be embarrassed about or avoid in conversation. In fact, with high cholesterol playing a key role in raising a person’s risk for heart disease (the leading cause of death in America), there’s never been a better time to talk about it more.

Even Children Can Have High Cholesterol

Unfortunately, high cholesterol is not a condition that’s confined to adults. In fact, the CDC estimates that 7 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 19 have total cholesterol levels above the recommended guideline.

Too Much “Bad” Cholesterol Can Put You at Risk for Stroke or Heart Disease 

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood that’s produced by your liver. It’s actually an essential part of maintaining a healthy body because it’s involved in everything from making hormones to digesting foods.

But did you know that, in most cases, your body already produces all of the cholesterol it needs? That means your lifestyle choices, health conditions, or family history can raise or lower your cholesterol, which can negatively impact your overall health. And when we talk about high cholesterol, we’re generally referring to having too much “bad” cholesterol in your blood. But what is “bad” cholesterol and how does it compare to “good” cholesterol? Read on.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is just one of the lipoproteins necessary for transporting fat molecules around your body. But too much LDL in your body can be bad for your health, which is why it’s most often considered “bad” cholesterol. And for “good” cholesterol? That’s usually considered your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) because it’s responsible for absorbing cholesterol and returning it to the liver to be removed from your body.

Too much LDL in your blood can lead to what is known as plaque, a buildup of cholesterol in your blood vessels that can ultimately make them more narrow over time. This can block your blood flow and put you at risk for having a stroke or heart attack.

Certain Conditions and Factors Can Raise Your Level of Risk

The most important thing to remember about high cholesterol is that there are a variety of risk factors that you can control and there are some that you can’t control.

Here are just some of the risk factors associated with high cholesterol:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Family history of high cholesterol
  • Certain inherited medical conditions
  • Age

Things like age and family history are obviously out of your control, but things like smoking or not being physically active are definitely up to you. Fortunately, limiting many of the risk factors associated with high cholesterol will mean that you’re limiting risk factors for a wide variety of other conditions as well.

There Usually Aren’t Any Symptoms

Because high cholesterol doesn’t usually come with any noticeable symptoms or warning signs, it’s important to talk with your doctor about getting your cholesterol levels checked.

To get your levels checked, your primary care provider can administer a blood test that will check your levels of LDL, HDL, and triglycerides (a type of fat found in your blood). Below are general guidelines from the CDC about where your cholesterol levels should be:

  • LDL – Less than 100 mg/dL
  • HDG – Greater than or equal to 60 mg/dL
  • Triglycerides – Less than 150 mg/dL

Remember, these are just basic guidelines. Your primary care doctor can help you analyze your results to determine if you have high cholesterol and if you need to take any action to lower your cholesterol.

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Looking Back at the 22nd Annual Autumn Wine Tasting: Raising Over $175,000 for Health Care in Your Community

Photo of the historic Port Tobacco Courthouse exterior

Our 22nd Annual Autumn Wine Tasting and Silent Auction has come and gone, but the evening of September 7, 2019, won’t soon be forgotten. Let’s raise just one more glass to all who helped make it possible.

Over Six Figures Raised for Health Care in Your Community

By the end of the night, attendees, sponsors, and silent-auction bidders helped us raise more than $175,000. These funds will be used to support the Foundation’s goal to equip our nursing units and fund improvements for our local imaging and surgical services.

Photo of group at wine tasting

An Evening of Generosity

From sponsors and volunteers to attendees and vendors, over 1,100 people joined us on the grounds of the historic Port Tobacco Courthouse for this event. Our vendors helped us celebrate another great year and the hospital’s 80th anniversary.

Photo of group at wine tasting

Special Thanks

We’re grateful to all of the generous sponsors, volunteers, and attendees who made this event’s 22nd year so memorable. The strength of our medical center is integrally connected with our community, and we are continually humbled by the support.

Photo of vendor tents at autumn wine tasting

To learn more about the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation and to support upcoming fundraisers, visit CRMCfoundation.org. Visit our official Flickr page to see more photos from this year’s event.

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7 Local Events and Classes Worth Checking Out This September

Hospital Events This September

As part of University of Maryland (UM) Charles Regional Medical Center’s mission to make Southern Maryland a happier, healthier place to call home, we’re proud to host so many events and classes here in our community. From exciting fundraisers to health-focused support groups, our calendar is chock-full of events 

22nd Annual Autumn Wine Tasting (September 7)

We’re just days away from Southern Maryland’s favorite fundraiser! Taking place on the grounds of historic Port Tobacco Courthouse, this event is about so much more than just wine. In addition to the offerings from local restaurants, it will also feature an impressive selection of silent auction items up for grabs.

Tickets are still available in limited quantities and can be purchased online or by calling (301) 609-4132. Proceeds benefit the CRMC Foundation!

Stroke & Brain Injury Support Group (September 9)

UM Charles Regional Medical Center is a Primary Stroke Center and recently received the Stroke Honor Roll Elite Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association, and we’re proud to offer this free support group.

Designed for members of our community and their loved ones who have been affected by stroke or a traumatic brain injury, this group meets monthly to go over education materials, take part in question-and-answer sessions, and listen to guest speakers.

To learn more about our Stroke & Brain Injury Support Group, please call (301) 609-4890.

Breastfeeding Support Groups (Wednesdays)

If you’re a new mom who could use the support of other moms as you work through questions and concerns about nursing your newborn, you’ll want to attend one of the weekly support group meetings hosted by one of our lactation consultants.

Support group meetings take place every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the 3 South Conference Room here at the hospital. 

Better Breathers Club (September 13)

If you or your loved one are currently dealing with chronic lung disease, this is the support group for you. 

The Better Breathers Club provides patient-focused, community-based education support, and we invite you to join us in the Nagula Conference Room #1 (first floor) for the next meeting. For more information about this support group or to learn more about our Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Department, call (301) 609-4391 today.

Childbirth Class (September 17-18)

This two-session series is designed to prepare you and your support person for a safe and happy birthing experience. 

The class, taking place from 5:30-8:30pm on both dates, includes instruction for breathing, relaxation techniques, comfort measures, medications, hospital procedures, stages of labor, deliveries, and infant care. Instructors will also address complications that can arise during your pregnancy and childbirth.

The cost of this event is $85 per couple and includes the two-day class with hands-on training, a tour of the Family Birthing Center, and food for you and your partner.

Classes fill quickly, so be sure to register early on our website.

Prediabetes/Type 2 Diabetes Support Group (September 24)

If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, you’re not alone, and this free support group is designed for people just like you. Join members of our Center for Diabetes Education to discuss different topics relating to managing and living with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. 

Meetings are held in the Nagula Conference Room 2, and RSVPs are not required but are preferred. You can RSVP by calling (301) 609-5444 or emailing DiabetesCenter@umm.edu.

Yoga, Body, and Mind (Beginning September 24)

Feeling stressed? This six-week course is designed to provide stress reduction and increase flexibility while you work on gentle body toning and building strength through asana work and other exercises. As a Traditional Hatha Yoga class, it is intended for those who are new to yoga as well as those who have some experience.

Preregistration/prepayment is required ($40 for the entire six-week class). To learn more, visit our website or call Anne Machetto at (240) 682-3229.

Want to see the full University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center events calendar? Visit our website today.

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Two La Plata Physical Therapists Receive Prestigious Board Certifications as Orthopaedic Specialists

Photos of board-certified physical therapists at UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation

The strength of University of Maryland (UM) Charles Regional Medical Center and all of its related practices comes from its people. From general doctors who treat a wide range of ailments to specialists who focus their efforts on specific conditions, our team is made up of people who’ve dedicated their careers to providing exceptional healthcare in Southern Maryland.

UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation is a perfect reflection of that strength — with a diverse team of physical therapists who help people recover from a variety of injuries or surgeries. And we’re excited to announce that this team continues to grow even stronger as Physical Therapist Amol Bakre (left) and Physical Therapist Lourdes Potestades (right) have both received the Orthopaedic Specialist Certification.

What is the Orthopaedic Specialist Certification?

Just 10 percent of physical therapists have achieved the designation of orthopaedic clinical specialist. You can usually tell if a physical therapist has this certification when they include “OCS” after their name.

Why have so few physical therapists received this designation? While any physical therapist can specialize in orthopaedics, becoming a board-certified specialist requires a rigorous certification process that spans over a decade of a therapist’s career. Here are a few of the key requirements for receiving board certification:

  • Complete 2,000 hours of physical therapy in the last 10 years, 500 hours of which must have been completed in the past three years
  • Pass a 200-question certification exam
  • Commit to continuing education and ongoing professional development
  • Complete 10-hour Maintenance of Specialist Certification
  • Must recertify every 10 years

What This Certification Means for Patients

For patients receiving the care of a physical therapist, board certification is simply a testament to a therapist’s dedication to their craft. An OCS designation is a reflection of the thousands of hours someone has put into providing orthopaedic care as well as their commitment to expanding their knowledge in an ever-changing field.

More than anything, this certification gives patients confidence that they’re working with someone who is on the leading edge of physical therapy.

Schedule Your Appointment at UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation

Ready to schedule your appointment? UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation offers one-on-one physical therapy services with flexible appointment times Monday through Friday. Visit our website to learn more or call (301) 609-5494 today.

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Breastfeeding Benefits and Facts Every New or Expecting Mother Should Know

Photo of group of infants

If you’re a brand new mom or are getting ready to be one, you probably have a lot of questions about breastfeeding. You might be wondering whether breastfeeding or formula is the right way to go, or you’re simply wondering where you can find resources for breastfeeding near you. Fortunately, it’s National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, so we’re breaking it all down. Here’s what you need to know.

Breastfeeding Has so Many Benefits for Babies

Although great strides have been made to make infant formula as nutritious and healthful as possible over the past several decades, there’s no question in the medical community that breast milk provides the greatest benefit to babies and their mothers.

Here’s what Dr. Ruth Peterson of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had to say about breastfeeding:

“It is the clinical gold standard for infant feeding and nutrition, with breast milk uniquely tailored to meet the health needs of a growing baby.”

Breast milk is such a good source of nutrients that breastfeeding has been found to reduce the risk of the following conditions among infants:

  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Ear and Respiratory Infections
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
  • Gastrointestinal Infections
  • Necrotizing Enterocolitis
  • Allergies
  • Eczema

It Also Benefits Mothers, Too

One lesser-known fact about breastfeeding is that it can also have potentially beneficial health benefits for nursing mothers. 

The American Institute for Cancer Research notes that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of pre- and post-menopausal breast cancers. And it’s also been linked to a reduced risk of the following conditions:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Breast Cancer

Studies have also shown that breastfeeding for at least three months can help women lose weight after giving birth. 

Only 25 Percent of Infants Are Breastfed According to Recommendations

While the case for breastfeeding is a strong one, the CDC estimates that just one in four infants are exclusively breastfed (i.e., breastfeeding without supplemental infant formula) through six months after birth — the time frame recommended by the World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics.

Although breastfeeding has grown in popularity significantly since the 1990s, it’s clear that many babies still aren’t being breastfed or aren’t being breastfed for long enough. This trend has especially affected black infants, whom the CDC says are 21% less likely to be breastfed at all.

Many Mothers Stop Breastfeeding for a Variety of Reasons

There’s no question that moms just want to do what’s best for their children and their family, so the reasons why they don’t start breastfeeding or don’t continue doing it for the recommended amount of time are important to understand.

It’s estimated that 60% of mothers stop breastfeeding before they planned to, and these are a few of the most common reasons why:

  • Issues with Lactation and Latching
  • Nutrition and Weight Concerns
  • Unsupportive Work Policies
  • Lack of Support from Family
  • Didn’t Feel Aligned with Cultural Norms

With these things in mind, it’s essential for communities and medical professionals to continue supporting mothers who breastfeed by breaking the stigma or making education a top priority for new moms. And, that’s why University of Maryland (UM) Charles Regional Medical Center regularly hosts breastfeeding support groups. These free support groups are facilitated by a lactation consultant who can answer nursing moms’ questions and concerns. Visit our classes and events calendar to find out when this group meets next.

Not Breastfeeding Can Be Costly

Beyond the added upfront costs of purchasing baby formula — which can be a very expensive experience in and of itself — choosing to feed your baby formula instead of breast milk can have even more costly long-term effects.

Because breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of so many conditions and ailments, it’s important to view breastfeeding as an investment in health rather than just a lifestyle choice. In fact, the CDC estimates that low breastfeeding rates can cost Americans over $3 billion per year as a result of indirect medical costs. Unfortunately, studies have shown that breastfeeding rates are actually lower among lower-income Americans, so these health costs may be disproportionately affecting those who can least afford them.

Resources for New and Expecting Moms in Southern Maryland

Deciding whether or not you want to breastfeed your child is a personal choice. New and expecting mothers should always talk with their doctor to learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding versus formula so they can make an informed decision about what’s best for them and their family.

If you’re still unsure about breastfeeding or simply want the perspective of a women’s health doctor, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Women’s Health in La Plata, MD. Led by Dr. Erica Contreras and Dr. Katreena Settle, this practice is where you can get answers to your most pressing questions and care from women doctors who have a combined 22 years of experience.

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