Tucked in a nondescript office building in a town south of Austin, Texas, the state-run Texas Health Science Center is the state’s only prenatal and delivery center.
As the state prepares to mark its 70th birthday, the center is the only facility in the country where pregnant women can get their first prenatal checkup without the worry of a waiting room.
But that may soon change.
A recent outbreak of swine flu in the U.S. has brought a renewed focus on pregnant women’s health, and it’s unclear whether the recent pandemic could pose a similar threat to pregnant women.
Dr. Jennifer Reisman, the director of the Texas Health Center, says that in some cases, a woman might feel more confident that she is safe with a prenatal visit.
“It is certainly a concern to women in their first trimester,” she says.
“We are not going to go into the details of what is happening in the United States right now.
We are very concerned.”
A number of factors could be driving up the number of pregnant women getting their first checkups at the center, but Reisman says that one factor that has increased the most is the flu pandemic.
“That’s been a big one,” she said.
“Flu is a very common thing in the US.
It’s just a very unusual virus to have that many cases in the first few days.”
While there are no confirmed cases of swines flu in Texas, it has already led to a spike in cases.
The number of women getting pregnant has increased more than 70 percent over the past three months, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In fact, the rate of women who are pregnant and have their first test result is up by more than 50 percent in a single month, according a recent study from the CDC.
And it’s a sign that the flu is on the rise.
But while Reisman said that the numbers are higher now than they were last year, she doesn’t believe the spike is caused by the flu.
“There is no correlation,” she told ABC News.
“I don’t know if we’ve been more sickened by the influenza pandemic, or if we haven’t been more worried about the flu.”
Reisman also noted that the number and severity of infections in the Texas region has not increased significantly in the past few months.
She believes the virus has changed, and that women are more cautious about seeking medical care, even if they are healthy.
“Our doctors are saying, ‘You know what, you need to be cautious because the virus is still out there,'” Reisman explained.
“You’re still not 100 percent sure, but it’s more likely that you’re going to be sick.”
But while women are still getting their checkups, there are some things women can do to make sure they’re safe.
Reisman suggests that women get their flu shots at least once a month.
“If you are not vaccinated, you should be taking the flu vaccine,” she explains.
“This is a great time to get your flu shot.
It gives you protection against the virus and helps your immune system.”
For the most part, the women at the Texas health center are not looking for a quick fix to their pregnancy.
“They are not doing anything fancy,” Reisman told ABC.
“And they are happy to have the baby and have the care.”
For Reisman and others, the fact that they’re able to stay in the hospital is also a major plus.
“The only thing that makes us sad is that we have to have our babies back in the day,” Reiser says.
The Texas Health center has also added a pregnancy and lactation center, and plans to open another one in the coming months.
But Reisman is not holding her breath.
“For us, it is a luxury,” she admitted.
“But we are in a world where there are so many things that need to happen to ensure that you are healthy, so that you can keep your job, so you can get back on your feet.”