Medical Aid for Pregnancy: What Mothers Need To Know

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Becoming a mother is an extraordinary journey filled with joy, anticipation, and a fair share of worry. From the moment those two lines show up on a pregnancy test, your life is changed forever. Your baby becomes your priority, and your instinct is to nurture and protect your growing child at all costs. This means taking care of your health by getting proper antenatal care and preparing for your baby’s arrival. In South Africa, where healthcare quality can vary dramatically, having reliable medical aid for pregnancy and your baby is crucial.

pregnant couple in south africa

Understanding Medical Aid for Pregnancy

Below our medical aid consultant shares everything mothers need to know about the importance of medical aid coverage for pregnancy, the true cost of pregnancy in South Africa, if you are covered immediately for pregnancy and the medical aid benefits you will get during and after your pregnancy.

Why Medical Aid Is Important During Pregnancy

It has become more and more clear that the state-run hospitals and clinics are overstretched and under-resourced in South Africa. Medical aid makes private healthcare accessible to expectant mothers during one of the most significant periods of their lives, safeguarding the well-being of both mom and baby.    

During pregnancy, your body will undergo plenty of physical and hormonal changes that must be carefully monitored by a qualified medical professional. In the private sector, you will generally see your gynaecologist or midwife every 4 to 6 weeks for a scan and check-up. 

Your provider will ensure the baby is growing well and that your blood pressure, blood sugar and other health markers are all within a normal range. If you fall within the high-risk category (i.e a blood-clotting disorder, over 35 years of age, diabetic etc.), you can expect more frequent check-ups. You will also need to have various screening tests done at around 13 weeks and an anatomy scan at 20 weeks.

What You Can Expect to Pay For Doctor Visits While Pregnant

A consult and scan with your gynae can cost anywhere from R800 up to R2000 if you’re under specialised care. The blood and screening tests also run into the thousands, especially during your first trimester.

The Cost of Giving Birth in South Africa

  • If you opt for a birthing center under the care of midwives, you’re looking at around R10 000 to R15000 for the birth. Many of them offer packages that include antenatal care, which can work out to be a lot cheaper than a hospital birth.
  • If you go the route of a natural delivery in a private hospital, expect to fork out R25 000 to R30 000.
  • A caesarean delivery comes at the highest cost of between R38 000 and R45 000. Keep in mind, that most of your specialists (anaesthetist, obstetrician) will require payment upfront, which you’d be able to claim back from your medical aid or gap cover after the birth.
couple with a baby in south africa

Is There A Medical Aid That Covers Pregnancy Immediately?

Unfortunately, you’re not going to find a medical aid with no waiting period for pregnancy. Most medical aids in South Africa, Profmed included, have a 12-month waiting period for maternity benefits to kick in for new members. We know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, and believe us when we say it’s a heartbreaking conversation for our consultants to have with moms-to-be. If you’d like to learn more about why this is the case, you can read our article about medical aid coverage for pre-existing pregnancy

It’s critical to be on medical aid if you are planning on starting a family, even if it’s something that’s only a few years away. You never want to be caught off guard and be without medical aid that covers pregnancy because these things are not always planned. 

But here’s the silver lining: If you join Profmed medical aid when you’re already pregnant, your baby will be covered from birth, ensuring the best care for your child from day one! You can learn more about the Tums2Tots medical aid plan for babies here. Moms who register on the programme can choose from products and services that suit their needs, depending on the option they are on.

What Can I Do If I’m Not On Medical Aid That Covers Pregnancy Immediately?

We know that the thought of going through pregnancy and childbirth without medical aid is daunting. Keeping the costs we mentioned above in mind, you can put money into a savings account each month of your pregnancy to build up some funds to cover the birth of your baby, as this will be the biggest expense you’ll encounter. You could also opt to receive care from a midwife at a birthing centre or at your home as this works out significantly cheaper than hospital births without sacrificing quality care. We also recommend you join a medical scheme as soon as possible to ensure your baby is covered as soon as they’re born. Having peace of mind about the safety and health of your new born baby is worth the investment!

Our Medical Aid Plans for Pregnancy

With over 60 years’ experience, Profmed has built a reputation of being among the best medical aid providers for pregnancy in South Africa. We understand the urgency and importance of prenatal care and offer plans tailored for expecting mothers and fathers who want to invest in the future of their family.

All of Profmed’s medical aid plans for pregnancy provide maternity benefits in- and out-of-hospital, except the ProSelect option, which only covers the delivery and pregnancy-related hospitalisation. Our more comprehensive maternity benefits include the following and more:

  • antenatal consults with a gynae
  • pregnancy scans
  • a multitude of blood tests
  • lactation consultants 
  • paediatrician appointments
  • NIPT screening for qualifying members. 

This gives you and your baby the best start in life together by receiving quality, comprehensive care.

Additional Benefits Profmed Medical Aid Covers:

Pregnancy can sometimes bring unexpected complications, which can be stressful without the right medical aid. Profmed’s comprehensive plans ensure that you’re prepared for any scenario, providing a safety net for both routine and unforeseen medical needs. Here’s an overview of where these benefits may come in handy:

  • Prenatal Care: Routine prenatal visits to a gynaecologist, obstetrician, or midwife are essential for monitoring the health and development of the baby. Profmed covers these visits, including necessary blood tests, ultrasounds, and other prenatal screenings, to ensure the pregnancy is progressing healthily.
  • Childbirth and Hospitalisation: Whether it’s a natural birth or a caesarean section, childbirth often requires hospitalisation. Profmed’s maternity benefits cover the costs of delivery to ensure that members can choose their preferred hospital from our extensive network without worrying about the financial impact.
  • Postnatal Care: After the birth, both mother and baby need follow-up care. This can include paediatric consultations for the newborn and postpartum care for the mother. 
  • Vaccinations: The health of the newborn is paramount, and vaccinations play a crucial role in protecting infants from various diseases. Private sector vaccinations can cost new parents thousands in the first 18 months of life, so having cover for at least some of these can bring massive financial relief. 
  • Breastfeeding Support: Understanding the challenges new mothers may face with breastfeeding, Profmed provides benefits that support lactation consultations. These services help mothers overcome breastfeeding challenges, promoting the health and well-being of both mother and child.
  • Mental Health Support: Recognising that pregnancy and childbirth can be emotionally taxing, mother’s may require mental health support services. This could include counselling sessions to help manage postpartum depression or anxiety, ensuring mothers receive the holistic care they need.

Comparing Medical Aid Plans for Pregnancy

When selecting a medical aid, consider factors like hospital network, coverage specifics, and additional maternity benefits. We make it easy to compare the maternity benefits offered under each plan to ensure you make the best choice for your family and budget. Remember, the best medical aid for pregnancy is one that aligns with your specific needs and offers comprehensive support throughout your pregnancy.

Invest In Your Family’s Well-Being

Being well-informed about your medical aid cover during pregnancy can give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on the exciting journey to parenthood that lies ahead. In a country like South Africa where the quality of healthcare varies greatly, having reliable medical aid for pregnancy is a game-changer. If you are planning to grow your family in the near future, join the Profmed family now to ensure you and your baby receive quality healthcare from the outset. Contact us today to learn more!