Think you may be pregnant? Even before your baby is born, there are many things you can do to give your baby the best possible start. The earlier you enter prenatal care, the better because fetal development begins even before most women realize they are pregnant.
Prenatal care will help make sure you are healthy and check to see that your baby is developing normally. You will get answers to your questions and learn how to best care for yourself during the pregnancy.
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Don't Delay Seeing a Doctor or Midwife! If you need help with health coverage, our staff can help you find maternity care that is affordable and convenient, to help you and your baby get the care you need. If you do not have health insurance, you may be eligible for Medi-Cal or AIM, California's low-cost health insurance program for pregnant women.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid health care program, and can help eligible women pay for the prenatal and maternity care they need. And through the enhanced care program, Comprehensive Perinatal Services Program, eligible women can receive complete prenatal care, health education, nutrition services, and psychosocial support for up to 60 days after delivery of their infants.
You can find a local prenatal care provider who accepts Medi-Cal from our list of providers. The Medi-Cal Presumptive Eligibility (PE) for Pregnant Women (PE) for Pregnant Women program allows providers to issue eligible women a temporary Medi-Cal card at the time of their first appointment. This means that many health care providers can help you obtain health coverage by qualifying you for Medi-Cal services right at their office.
Income Eligibility Guidelines for Presumptive Eligibility (PE) for Pregnant Women
If your family income is higher than the limits listed on this income chart - you should still apply because there may be certain allowable deductions that would bring your income into the eligible range. And if your income after deductions is still too high for Pregnancy Medi-Cal, you might qualify for the Access for Infants and Mothers (AIM) program (see below).
If you already have Medi-Cal coverage, your new baby can also get health coverage. Be sure to ask your health care provider about Medi-Cal's Newborn Referral program. You can download the referral form here:
Maintaining good oral health during pregnancy is important to the overall health of expectant mothers and their babies. Medi-Cal covers dental care for pregnant women. You can find a local dental provider who accepts Medi-Cal from our list of providers.
If you do not have health insurance (or have a high deductible), and do not qualify for Medi-Cal, you may be able to obtain maternity care through the Access for Infants and Mothers (AIM) program. The AIM program offers affordable prenatal and maternity insurance for middle-income pregnant women, and health insurance for their babies.
AIM offers coverage for pregnant women who:
AIM benefits include:
More information about the AIM program is available from the California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board.
Your initial visit for prenatal care should include a detailed interview and physical examination with a pelvic exam and laboratory tests. Your doctor or midwife will use this information to determine what care you will need. Regular visits throughout the pregnancy will monitor how you are doing and check to make sure the baby is growing. These later visits are an opportunity to discuss concerns or questions you may have about body changes during pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting.
In addition, some health care providers provide Medi-Cal clients with additional free services including:
You should also talk to your health care provider about vaccines you may need to get during your pregnancy (pdf). For example, it is important for a pregnant woman to receive a flu shot during flu season. Everyone needs to be up-to-date on their whooping cough (Pertussis) shots, especially pregnant women since their newborn babies will be too young for the vaccine.
Pregnancy testing and counseling about your options are available for low or no cost. Our toll-free information line at 800-427-8982 can direct you to a provider that can offer you confidential and professional help. By seeking care as soon as you suspect you may be pregnant, you will have more choices available to you. Some abortion services are covered under the Medi-Cal Presumptive Eligibility (PE) for Pregnant Women program. If you are considering adoption, the California Department of Social Services provides information and counseling at (707) 588-5000.
I want to quit smoking, or learn how to protect my child from the harmful effects of smoke.
Smoke-Free Babies is free program for Sonoma County women who use tobacco and are pregnant, or have a baby under six months of age. The Northern California Center for Well-Being offers three services: phone support, private appointments and a weekly group for mothers. For more information visit The Northern California Center for Well-Being website.
The California Smokers Helpline is a program that can help you and/or family members quit smoking. Helpline services are free, funded by the California Department of Health. Call 1-800-NO-BUTTS for more information. September 4, 2012: Medi-Cal clients can get a FREE $20 gift card when you call the California Smokers Helpline (pdf).
You can also visit Women.SmokeFree.gov for information and online resources especially for women.
I need help with stopping my alcohol or other drug use.
Many women have received the right help and been able to make changes in their lives during pregnancy to stop using marijuana, alcohol or other drugs, both prescription and illegal. A woman needing help is encouraged to speak with her health care provider and ask for a referral to Sonoma County's confidential Drug Free Babies program. She may also call 1-800-427-8982 and ask to speak with a public health nurse who will assist her.
I may have been exposed to a substance that might harm my unborn child.
If you think that you have been exposed to drugs, alcohol, chemicals, infectious diseases or any other physical agents which may be harmful to your unborn child, the Pregnancy Risk Information Line can provide free, confidential pregnancy risk information over the telephone at 800-532-3749, or at their website.
I feel unsafe in my relationship.
Contact the YWCA 24-hour Hotline at (707) 546-1234 today. You deserve to have a safe and healthy environment for you and your unborn child.
I am a pregnant teen or young father.
Pregnant teens and young fathers can receive confidential services through Teen Parent Connections. This program promotes prenatal wellness, assists young parents in continuing their education and provides access to necessary services. Services are free and provided County wide for age-eligible adolescents.
I have special needs during my pregnancy.
If you are pregnant and are having difficulty seeing your provider, or have social/emotional issues, or need help quitting substances that can harm your baby, or would like to learn about resources in our community, then a public health nurse may be able help you.
If you know, or suspect you have diabetes, the earliest care possible will help protect you and your developing baby. The California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program "Sweet Success" can provide diabetic women who are pregnant with education, nutrition, psychosocial and medical services. Call 800-427-8982 and ask about the "Sweet Success" diabetes and pregnancy program.
Get free messages each week on your cell phone to help you through your pregnancy and your baby's first year.
Embarazo: Lo que debe saber
Fuente: Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades.
For more information, please contact:
Maternal, Child, Adolescent Health
625 5th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Phone: (707) 565-4494
Toll Free: (800) 427-8982