Fort Walton Beach Medical Center

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is a 257-bed hospital located in Fort Walton Beach in the panhandle of Northwest Florida.


Prenatal Care is Key to a Healthy Pregnancy and Baby!

It’s a miracle of life! Finding out you’re pregnant is a life-changing day full of excitement, and a little bit of anxiety. But that’s ok, it’s expected, particularly if you are a first-time mom. Maybe you used one of those home pregnancy tests to get the big news as early as possible. That’s good, but now it’s time to make an appointment with the OB/GYN and get started with that all important prenatal care.

Maybe you’re one of those women who are never sick and just don’t make regular visits to the doctor. But things have changed. You are now responsible for the health of (at least) two people so you need a new mindset. Getting regular check-ups and following your doctor’s advice is key to a having an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivering the healthiest baby possible.

Your prenatal visits with your doctor will include physical exams, weight checks, and urine and blood tests. Depending on where you are in the pregnancy other tests like ultrasound exams may be in order. Your doctor will advise you on diet, prenatal vitamins, and physical activities depending on special health needs you might have. And reviewing any medications you’re currently taking that could have an impact on your pregnancy is important so make sure you give a complete and thorough medical history and current lifestyle when asked. It’s vitally important that your doctor has every bit of information about your health to properly care for you and your unborn child.

Good prenatal care helps reduce complications with both pregnancy and birth. This is an awesome time in your life. Having a positive and open relationship with your physician can offer both high quality medical care and comfort in knowing you’re doing everything possible for your child from the moment you see that little blue line on the test strip.

If you don’t have a regular doctor, call our free health information and physician referral line at 850-864-0213 and we can help you find an obstetrician that fits your personal needs. We can also provide information on our women’s services to help you plan for the big day ahead!

Protect Your Peepers this Summer!

The month of July is a big month for eye injuries and that’s why it’s Eye Injury Prevention Month. We’ve got fireworks, summer yard projects, and sporting activities that are all noted as the leading causes of eye injuries. Since we know that we’re not going to shy away from any of those activities, here are a few words of caution to keep your peepers safe and healthy this summer.

This is an easy one, but so often ignored. Wear safety goggles or other appropriate eye wear when you’re involved in activities. Doesn’t it make sense to wear something on your eyes when you’re working in the yard and branches can easily whip across your face and hit your eye? Children should ALWAYS wear safety equipment when involved in sports activities, even it’s a neighborhood game in the back yard. And you know when hubby decides to organize all of those fluids (we don’t even know what they’re for) out there in the garage, he needs to be wearing goggles too!

If someone does sustain an eye injury, you need to get medical attention. A splinter in the eye, or accidental scratch can cause serious damage if not appropriately treated. And if you get some type of chemical in your eye, flush it with clean water and head to the ER. Even a light hit to the eye when the kids are wrestling around can cause damage. This is definitely a ‘be safe not sorry’ decision to make – if an eye injury occurs, get medical attention immediately!

If you have questions about an eye injury, call our free health information line at 850-864-0213. Our registered nurses are available to take your call 24/7 to answer questions and offer guidance on how to get the right care, close to home.

We're Ready to Welcome Your Baby at FWBMC

So you’re pregnant! Congratulations! Your mind is probably racing with plans and ‘to-do’s’ in order to be ready for the arrival of your new bundle of joy. At Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, we’re already prepared for the big day. Our comprehensive birthing and infant care offers you all of the options you need for a safe and joyful ‘birthday’ experience. First, we know that your baby belongs to you and your family, not to the hospital.

So our focus is on giving you the education and support your family needs to welcome your new baby into your lives. FWBMC offers couplet care, which means the same nurse cares for both mom and baby in the comfort and convenience of her room. Mom decides when her baby leaves the room, not hospital staff. Couplet care offers families a smoother adjustment to life with baby, better communication on care for both, more confidence through better education, and that all important peace of mind knowing that baby is close by. Families don’t miss those first important special moments and babies tend to cry less because they are close to mom. And couplet care is a great approach to supporting family bonding from the moment you welcome baby into the world. While every parent prays for a healthy, full-term baby, that doesn’t always happen. FWBMC is home to the only Level II Neonatal Intensive Care unit in the tri-county area. This high-level care for babies born prematurely or with medical issues allows families to stay in the community for the specialized care baby needs before going home.

Our NICU team – neonatologists, neonatal nurses, respiratory, occupational and physical therapists and pharmacy staff – are uniquely trained to support the needs of our tiniest patients. They also know the importance of keeping family fully informed and involved regarding baby’s health and treatment. Just knowing this high-level care for infants is available 24/7 at FWBMC, it provides an additional level of assurance for families choosing our hospital for the big day. FWBMC invites parents-to-be to schedule a tour of the Labor and Delivery area and the Neonatal Nursery by calling 850-863-7627. You can also download ‘Your Checklist for the Big Day’ from our website to help remind you to schedule pre-natal and breastfeeding classes, and pre-register for your admission after 32 weeks. We can even provide you with a list of qualified pediatricians in the community so you can check that off your list as well. There’s a great celebration headed your way! Let FWBMC’s team of childbirth and infant care specialists help make this birthday the most positive and comforting experience possible.

Hey Sun Worshippers - Stay Safe This Summer!

July is UV Safety Month for good reason. It’s the beginning of summer so just about all of us are heading to our favorite spot for some ‘fun in the sun.’ We’re outdoors a lot more so exposure to UV rays are a part of daily life, particularly here in the south. We love the sun and 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight a day is good for us – keeping our vitamin D level where it ought to be. But beyond that, practice safe sunning to avoid skin cancer risks this summer!

Keep in mind that reflective surfaces like your swimming pool intensify the sun’s rays. You might not think you’re getting sunburn, but just wait until you strip down for your shower and see that new pattern of bright red versus your lightest skin tone. Whoops! That’s why reapplying sunscreen frequently is important. And forget that oil – that might as well have you lying in a vat of Crisco by the pool. Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Otherwise you’re just frying yourself out there.

Oh, you don’t tan in the sun? You go to a tanning salon instead? Well, sorry to tell you that the UV rays in those indoor tanning beds are just as bad as overdoing the real thing. In fact, in addition to skin cancer, artificial UV rays can damage eyes and some experts believe will weaken your immune system. And all UV ray sources ultimately dry your skin, cause wrinkles and create age spots, and basically turn your lovely skin into leather (remember, you are ‘tanning’ yourself.)

We’re not trying to be a ‘Debbie Downer’ but practice safe sunning for you and your children, who are at a greater risk for developing skin cancer later in life if you don’t. Just use common sense – wear the sunscreen, limit the amount of time in direct sunlight, wear appropriate clothing, a hat, and sunglasses to protect your eyes and body. And remember that if someone does accidently get severely sunburned, you need to seek medical attention. Call your doctor or our free health information line at 850-864-0213. Go ahead and worship the sun – we love it – but stay safe!

A Slice of This Sweet Treat is Good for Your Body!

It’s almost a required rite of passage in the south – eating ice cold watermelon on a hot summer day. Let’s face it, watermelon just tastes awesome. Think about it. Do you actually know anyone who doesn’t like it? Didn’t think so.

The good thing is that you can get the kids to eat it until the vines are growing out of their ears while you’re secretly thinking, ‘that is so good for them!’ We just don’t really care about the health benefits so much because it tastes so good. But watermelon is good for your kids and you too! Here’s what one cup of watermelon offers: 17% of vitamin A, 21% of vitamin C, 2% of iron and 1% of calcium needs for the day. It contains thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, magnesium, potassium, and lycopene – all really good for your body.

Watermelon, along with other fruit and vegetables, help reduce the risk of lifestyle-related diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart conditions. They give us a healthy complexion and hair, help lower our weight, and increase our energy. If you are filling up on fruit and vegetables during meals and snacks, there’s little room left for the cookies and cake. And, FYI, because watermelon is loaded with water and fiber, it helps keep your digestive tract healthy and things moving the way they should. That juicy, water-filled slice of melon is also a great hydrating food during these hot months when heat stroke, brought on by dehydration, is a risk.

Eating watermelon and all of the other colorful, delicious bounty Mother Earth offers is simply good for you. To learn more about planning and sustaining a healthier diet, call our free health information line at 850-864-0213 for details on nutrition classes and counseling at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. Then, go have a slice!

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