Houston VA expanding programs to help female veterans

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- More women veterans live in Texas than in any other state and the number keeps getting bigger.

Katy Bland is one of them. She is an Army veteran about to have her first child. There is a lot to learn.

"I didn't expect everything to swell up as much as it had," said Bland. "I think that's like the biggest thing I didn't expect. "

Katy is getting help from the VA. On Tuesday, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Texas Medical Center and local volunteers threw Katy and seventeen other veterans a baby shower.

She also didn't expect to have a baby shower hosted by her VA Hosptial. Katy, like all the women here celebrating impending births, is a military veteran.

"It makes me feel really appreciated and supported," said Bland. "So I think it's helped me a lot in this pregnancy. "

Bland is among the nearly 4000 women who get care at the VA hospital in the Texas Medical Center. That number has doubled in recent years and is still climbing.

Young women are the fastest-growing segment of those treated here, and that's why the VA is opening a new Women's Treatment Center.

"We're trying to make it as easy and as fabulous as possible for our female veterans to come to the VA and get great care," said Dr. Rola Elserag, the hospital's program director for women's health.

It may be new, but veterans like these soon-to-be moms are already seeing the difference.

"Since the advent of the women's health clinic it's just easier for us to go in there, and they have people who actually relate to our issues. So it's great, " said Adrian Rideau, an Army veteran and mother of three.
There are more than one-hundred-thousand women veterans who live in the state of Texas. All of them need healthcare at some point, especially when they're about to add to their family.
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