Navigating pregnancy: with or without medical aid

by BabyYumYum
nurturing support provided by healthcare professionals, highlighting the importance of medical aid in fostering a positive and healthy pregnancy experience
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Embarking on the journey of pregnancy is a profound and transformative experience for many individuals or couples, and each pregnancy is a unique and personal voyage. Having access to proper medical care is critical to ensuring the wellbeing of both mother and child. From prenatal care to post-partum support, medical treatment is crucial for a successful pregnancy. However, misconceptions about medical aid cover for pregnant women often hinders access to the necessary care, leaving many women without adequate support.
The impact of adequate medical aid on maternal health 

If you have medical aid, the first advantage is that you gain access to paid-for check-ups. Regular visits not only allow healthcare professionals to monitor the health of both the mother and the developing foetus, it also provides an opportunity to discuss any discomfort, address potential complications and receive valuable guidance.

Adequate medical care throughout pregnancy greatly improves maternal health outcomes. According to the World Health Organisation, the latest available data suggests that in most high income and upper middle income countries, approximately 99% of all births benefit from the presence of a trained midwife, doctor or nurse.

Adequate medical care also makes it easier for pregnant women to access essential services such as ultrasound scans, blood tests, and screenings for gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia – which are, of course, vital to reducing any risk to the mom’s and baby’s health – not to mention that it can help relieve some of the financial costs associated with these services.

“During labour and delivery, medical aid cover provides access to skilled healthcare professionals who can manage complications and ensure a safe delivery for both mother and child,” says Madelein O’Connell, Executive Manager at Bestmed. “Additionally, post-partum care is also a crucial component of medical aid cover as it assists with the mother’s recovery, addressing any post-partum complications, as well as providing support for breastfeeding moms and newborn care.”

Madelein adds that “medical aid cover during pregnancy also gives access to maternity programmes that provide coverage for prenatal and postnatal care, as well as additional services such as childbirth education classes and access to a network of healthcare providers specialising in maternity care.”

symbiotic relationship between pregnancy and medical aid, where expectant parents benefit from the expertise and support of healthcare professionals

Common misconceptions about medical aid cover for maternity 

Despite the importance of medical aid during pregnancy, there are several common misconceptions that still exist and can lead to inadequate coverage.

The first is assuming that all medical schemes automatically cover maternity care. Most medical schemes have waiting periods before maternity benefits kick in and, often, members do not disclose that they are pregnant before joining a scheme. It is important to join a medical scheme well before pregnancy to avoid being left without full cover and benefits.

Even if maternity care is covered, the extent of coverage can vary. “Yes, some medical plans offer limited coverage for prenatal and post-partum care, resulting in members having to pay a larger percentage of the costs out of their own pockets,” adds O’Connell.

“As a result, it is critical to check your medical scheme plan coverage thoroughly to see which services are covered, what benefits are offered and, of course, what expenses may apply.”

The second is overestimating affordability: Although prenatal care is essential for a healthy pregnancy, some people underestimate the costs associated with pregnancy, labour, and delivery. Without proper cover, the financial burden of prenatal check-ups, tests and delivery costs can be overwhelming. 

The importance of prenatal & post-partum care 

Navigating pregnancy without medical aid can be challenging. However, individuals can still take steps to ensure they receive essential care.

Seek low-cost or free clinics: Many communities have clinics that provide low-cost or free prenatal care to people who do not have cover. These clinics may offer important services such as check-ups, screenings, and educational materials.

Negotiate payment plans: If faced with medical expenses that are not covered by your medical scheme, talk to your doctor or hospital about payment options. Many healthcare providers are willing to collaborate with patients to make healthcare more affordable.

Utilise community resources: Community resources such as support groups, childbirth classes and lactation consultants can also provide useful information and support during pregnancy and beyond.

“Pregnancy is a unique and personal experience. Whether you have the support of medical aid or are navigating this path independently, remember to always prioritise your health, seek guidance when needed and embrace the joy of bringing new life into the world,” concludes O’Connell.

Also Read: Conversations you and your partner need to have BEFORE starting a family written by Dr Sumayya Ebrahim, Psychologist

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