How to Get Financial Help During Pregnancy

While most people know the birth of a baby leads to increased financial responsibilities, they sometimes overlook the costs associated with having a healthy pregnancy. The finances needed to maintain a health lifestyle and have regular checkups are enough to stress any expecting mother, especially single parents or those with little support from family and friends. Understanding the high costs associated with pregnancy, many government and state agencies provide financial resources to pregnant women as they prepare for birth.

Apply for government-sponsored health programs, starting with Medicaid. Medicaid is a government program that allows people with low incomes to receive health care at little to no cost. While states set eligibility criteria within federal minimum standards individually, most base eligibility on income in relation to a percentage of the federal poverty level. In addition to meeting income eligibility, you must be a U.S. citizen and provide proof of residency in the state you're applying in. If eligible for Medicaid, you can get prenatal care through pregnancy, labor, and delivery and continue to receive pregnancy-related care for up to 60 days after delivery.

Apply for the Women, Infants and Children program, also known as WIC. WIC is a supplemental food and nutrition program for pregnant women, new mothers and children younger than 5. Eligibility for WIC is based on income. Each state sets a standard income level -- which must be between 100 and 185 percent of the federal poverty guidelines -- that your income must be at or below to be eligible for WIC services. If you qualify, you can receive assistance buying food and get information and counseling on healthy eating. WIC also provides breastfeeding support and referrals to health care and other community resources.

Gather information about different services your state offers to families in need. The Administration for Children & Families provides states with block grants for programs to meet Temporary Assistance for Needy Families goals 3. Many states provide temporary cash assistance to individuals with low incomes.

Go to your county's health department and inquire about prenatal care. Many local health departments provide free or low-cost prenatal services to women who have an economic need for care. Sign up for health programs that will help you choose a maternity care provider, manage care throughout your pregnancy and provide information on other available resources in the community.

Ask for financial help from charitable organizations in your community. For example, local Catholic Charities assist young parents and their families during pregnancy and through the child's first year of life. The United Way offices also help individuals file taxes and qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit and others.

Research other organizations, including churches and women's centers, that may offer financial or other assistance to pregnant women in your area. Many churches provide support to pregnant women in the form of cash, food, clothes and counseling. Other organizations give help with pregnancy and baby supplies, in addition to providing parenting programs and classes 4.

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