Not every woman who's expecting has access to insurance, but all pregnant women should be receiving adequate prenatal care, whether they're covered or not. After all, having a healthy pregnancy is one of the best ways to ensure a smooth birth and a healthy child, and physicians can help women determine the right vitamins to take, point out which medications to avoid while pregnant, and monitor the baby's development as it progresses. Considering the vast benefits to receiving medical care while pregnant, here's how to get prenatal care without insurance.
First, you'll want to determine just how insurance-less you are. According to Very Well, both Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act provide free coverage of prenatal care, since it counts as preventative care. If you are eligible for government-provided health care but haven't applied yet, make sure you apply as soon as possible and, if possible, get temporary health coverage in the meantime.
Whether you're eligible for health care or not, though, you'll want to find out what your prenatal care options are in your city and state. Call (800) 311-BABY to reach the health department in your area. (For service in Spanish, call 800-504-7081.) The toll-free phone number will help you find free or more affordable prenatal health care in your area code, regardless of your situation.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, every state has free or reduced-cost programs to help pregnant women through their pregnancies. Speaking to someone from your state's health department will help you determine where to go, what programs you're eligible for, and how to get the care you and your baby need.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, experts estimate that up to half of pregnancy-related deaths could be prevented, and a lot of that has to do with receiving prenatal care. As the CDC explains in a fact sheet:
In order to have the best possible outcome for mother and child, early prenatal care is essential. Even before a woman conceives, she can be given folic acid, checked for immunity to rubella and blood type, as well as advised about smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating a healthy diet. Once a woman is pregnant, prenatal visits to a healthcare provider will include examinations to determine the health of the mother and developing fetus.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, babies born to moms do not receive prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight, and they're five times more likely to die than babies whose mothers received prenatal care. A physician can help you avoid future health problems, treat anything ongoing, and inform you of critical updates.
Whether you can afford it or not, prenatal care is critical to your health and the health of your baby. If you're expecting, call your health department today and find out what your options are — because no matter what your situation is insurance-wise, there are ways to ensure you get the care you need.