a woman pregnant without health insurance touching her head and looking at a pregnancy testQuestion: I just found out that I’m pregnant and I’m very excited about having a baby. However, I don’t have health insurance and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to afford to see a doctor or pay for delivery. Any tips?

Answer: Having a baby is definitely expensive. Still, no pregnant woman should go through pregnancy and childbirth without the proper care, even if she’s uninsured. If you can’t afford to get on health insurance right now, here are some other, more affordable options:

  • Check your yellow pages under “Clinics” or “Health Care Centers.” Most towns provide health services at places like women’s health centers. Many of these centers provide free care, and more will offer care on a sliding pay-what-you-can basis.
  • If your income is low enough, you may qualify for Medicaid. Through this program, you can get prenatal care. If you don’t qualify, there are low-cost insurance programs that will cover your pregnancy as well as your child’s health care after delivery. Ask at any clinic or call (877) KIDSNOW. Also WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) provides pregnant and nursing mothers with food and nutrition counseling.
  • Call your local hospital; some provide a certain amount of free or low-cost care to women who need it. Childbirth classes may also be available at little or no cost.
  • As a last resort, try the ER. If you do go into labor before you’ve been able to see a practitioner, go the ER immediately. By law, they have to treat you.