Did you just learn you are pregnant? Are you stressed because you cannot afford to see a doctor? Are you worried about paying for prenatal care visits, testing and much more? Are you seeking financial assistance to pay for prenatal care? If you are in this situation, and are an American citizen, do not panic. There is help available. Even if you do not have health insurance, you can receive quality prenatal care for free or at a reduced cost.
Prenatal care is crucial for both you and your baby’s health. Prenatal testing can detect serious health issues that must be treated immediately. Prenatal care can help ensure that your baby is getting adequate nutrition, that you are healthy for labor and that you will be prepared for any possible health complications in the baby. Read “The Importance of Prenatal Care — What New Mothers Should Absolutely Know” for more details.
If you do not know who to call or where to go, the first step is to call 211. This number is available in most areas as one-stop resource for social service referrals. Read “How to Get Social Service Help By Calling 211” for more information. You must call from a landline phone, not a cell phone. Tell the 211 worker that you cannot afford prenatal care. She/he should refer you to assist programs to pay all, or most, of the cost of prenatal care. If you are needing help with food, be sure to tell the 211 worker as well. Ask where to apply for WIC, a government program that provides food and nutrition education to pregnant mothers and their children. You can also ask for referrals to a crisis pregnancy center, where you might be able to earn items such as a car seat.
If 211 is not available in you area, try calling 1-800-311-2229. It will connect you to the health department in your area, explain your situation and ask for referrals. If that still doesn’t help, simply call a local hospital and ask to speak with the social worker. Ask where you can get indigent prenatal care.
Hopefully one of these options will point you in the right direction for getting medicaid. It should pay for your prenatal care and your baby’s care at birth. In rare circumstances, women will make too much to qualify for medicaid, but still cannot afford to pay for prenatal care. In that situation, you will need to consider applying for a loan, hiring a midwife.or even quitting your job if necessary. You might also ask a hospital social worker for advice. If you go to a church, ask your church office if there is a benevolence program to assist you. Don’t forget you might qualify for food stamps, WIC or other assistance programs which will free up some money to pay for the doctor’s visits.
It is very important that you start taking prenatal vitamins right away. Read “When Should I Take Prenatal Vitamins?” for more details. The doctor you see should provide you with free samples and you should be able to get assistance with the prenatal vitamins. Also be sure to read “When to Go to the Doctor If You Are Pregnant.”
You might also check out “5 Questions to Ask Your OB/GYN on Your First Pregnancy Appointment.” Another fantastic article to read is “Twenty Important Things to Do During Your Pregnancy” and “Helpful Websites for Pregnant Moms.”
We are very fortunate to live in American where you can obtain free or low cost medical care. Have a happy and healthy nine months!