Prepare for your new bundle of joy
Learn what to expect before, during, and after pregnancy
Thinking of expanding your family? Becoming a parent is a rewarding – and often challenging – journey. But like any journey, it helps to be prepared. Healthy family planning happens before getting pregnant. Maternity coverage is included on most health plans. Below are some resources and information to help you manage the unexpected when you’re expecting.
You may have questions about how to handle physical or emotional changes that accompany pregnancy. You may also have tried getting pregnant and have not yet conceived. Making an appointment with your doctor is a great first step on the journey to having a baby. Blue Shield members can use the Find a Doctor tool to search for obstetricians and pediatricians in their plan’s network.
Your doctor can guide you through all stages of pregnancy and beyond. Your doctor can also go over your fertility options if you need support conceiving. Keep in mind that infertility coverage is not available on some plans, so it’s important to go over your Evidence of Coverage before proceeding with infertility treatment. Having a list of questions handy when you meet with your doctor can help make sure you get all your bases covered.
During your initial visit, your doctor may:
- Go over your medical history, including vaccinations
- Take inventory of any medications you are using
- Discuss lifestyle changes to support a healthy pregnancy
- Suggest screening for conditions – such as genetic factors – that may affect your or your future child’s health
- Talk about infertility tests that can explore conditions affecting conception (for those who have been trying to conceive for more than a year or more than 6 months if over 35; check your Evidence of Coverage to see if infertility treatment is a covered benefit and if you qualify)
Every person is unique, so every pregnancy journey is unique. Working with a doctor can help you get personalized care for your situation. You might also consider reaching out to your community for support. Pregnancy support groups can offer a compassionate ear when you need someone to talk to.
Whoa, baby – you’re pregnant! You may be noticing some changes already occurring in your body. Staying on top of your health and self-care routines are important to helping you ride out the changes you may be facing. Some health plans also offer prenatal programs – such as Blue Shield’s Maternity Program – to support expecting parents through every step of pregnancy.
Some healthy steps your doctor may suggest could include:
- Eating healthy – good nutrition is vital for giving your baby what they need as they develop
- Limiting drinks with caffeine or added sugars
- Getting physical activity – 150 minutes of moderate activity per week can help you stay physically and emotionally healthy
- Avoiding alcohol and tobacco – both of these are associated with birth complications or defects
- Focusing on mental health – changes (even positive ones) can lead to stress and depression, so talking to friends and family or a mental health professional may help
Your physical and emotional changes (and needs) may vary based on trimester. Below is a glimpse of what you may experience during each stage of pregnancy. You can always reach out to your doctor if you have any concerns during these stages.
First trimester (weeks 1 through 12)
Second trimester (weeks 13 through 28)
- Growing abdomen
- Baby movements
- Increase in energy
- Reduction in morning sickness
- Often cited as the time when a person feels their best
Third trimester (weeks 29 through 40)
- Significant abdominal growth
- Physical discomfort/swelling/tenderness
- Trouble sleeping or walking
- Shortness of breath due to growing abdomen
- Often cited as the most difficult trimester
It’s time to welcome home your new bundle of joy. While your pregnancy may be over, your journey as a parent has just begun. Along with the joy you may feel, you might also be feeling the baby blues. If this lasts more than two weeks, you may be experiencing postpartum depression. Signs of postpartum depression may include:
- Excessive crying
- Difficulty bonding with baby
- Loss of appetite
- Severe depression or mood swings
- Thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby
If you have any of these symptoms, know that you are not alone. Also, for those who are partnered, it’s not uncommon for both parents to experience postpartum depression. Sharing your feelings openly with your partner or friends and family may help. However, you may also need to seek out help from a qualified mental health professional, who can offer counseling and treatment options. The Maternity Program offers maternal mental health services. Depending on your plan, you might also get mental health services through Teladoc.
We’re here for you and your baby
Blue Shield members can take advantage of programs to help before, during, and after pregnancy. Most Blue Shield plans also offer specialized maternity benefits, such a breast pumps and lactation support. Call the Customer Service number on your member ID card to learn more. You can also check your Evidence of Coverage to see which benefits are available on your plan.
Maternity Program – Get help throughout pregnancy, whatever your needs may be
Here’s what you can expect when you enroll:
- Personalized attention and resources
- Educational materials
- Assessments at different stages to see if you need extra support
- Access to 24/7 Nurse Line to speak with a nurse anytime
- Nurse support after your baby is born
- Confidential and available at no extra cost
For program details, Blue Shield members can visit www.blueshieldca.com/maternity.
Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan members can call (888) 802-4410.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal Employees PPO Program members can call (800) 995-2800.