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Ask Dr. Sears: Unemployed and Pregnant

Q. My husband was just laid off and money is kind of tight. Now, I just found out I'm pregnant. How long can you go without seeing a doctor?

A. Early prenatal care is very important for having a healthy pregnancy. Try to be checked by a healthcare provider within the first six weeks of your pregnancy. The sooner, the better. These visits are more than just a checkup: You will receive important counseling on proper nutrition during your pregnancy. You'll also get a prescription for prenatal vitamin supplements. Of course, the checkup is important too, to see if you and your baby have special medical needs.

Getting Assistance

Pregnancy is the time when you and your baby need medical care the most. That's why there are so many government-sponsored resources available to pregnant women. The best place to start looking for help is your local Department of Health. Call and ask about qualifications for Medicaid and other assistance programs for pregnant mothers. Since your income is low right now, you will probably qualify for state-assisted medical care throughout your pregnancy and delivery. You should also look in the phonebook for free prenatal clinics in your area.

There are a lot of other things you can do for self-care during your pregnancy, and they are very economical: