Best Tips for Pregnant Women If You’re Below the Poverty Line

Pregnancy is such a wonderful gift, an occasion to be celebrated for the joy it will bring. It’s also a trying time for every mother, new or veteran, of means or working to make ends meet. Every mother wants to do the best for their baby, but if you’re uninsured and scraping to put food on the table, it can seem impossible to make the healthy- and, oftentimes, expensive- choices your baby requires. Fortunately, you and your growing family have many resources available to you at little to no cost, which can help with everything from affording the doctor to saving for baby’s costs.

Find Prenatal Medical Care

One of the most important steps to take quickly is acquiring healthcare if you don’t already have coverage. Pregnancy is expensive, especially for the uninsured, and medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy. If you didn’t qualify for Medicaid before becoming pregnant, you may after: check the Medicaid website for eligibility requirements and to apply. Some states have programs in addition to Medicaid: look for what’s available in your state at If none of those options are right for you, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can help find no- or low-cost prenatal care that transitions to healthcare for your child as long as they are eligible.

Look for Quality

Once you’ve got the basics covered, you’ve got some leeway to make sure you’re also getting the best you can. Medical sonographers, the people looking at your baby, tend to hold only the equivalent of an associate’s degree; only 17 percent have a bachelor’s degree in sonography. When it comes to something as important as imaging to determine the health and well being of your baby, you might want the reassurance of knowing what degrees and certifications your medical professionals hold.

Get Food on the Table

Nutrition is the cornerstone of a healthy pregnancy and you don’t have to leave home to tackle it. Start by calling your local Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, which can cover you up to your child’s first birthday, and your child up until the time they turn 5. If you’re eligible for SNAP or TANF benefits, you should be eligible for WIC, and you can collect multiple. These programs are of substantial benefit and should not be overlooked: a Norwich University study found 10.3 million people were lifted above the poverty line by SNAP alone in 2012.

Make the Best Choices

While just getting the funds in your pocket is half the battle, eating healthfully is the other, arguably more challenging, half. For nutritious choices, the USDA’s SuperTracker can be configured to show an ideal pregnancy diet, taking into account increased caloric needs as your pregnancy progresses. It can also help you track nutrient intake, letting you interact with tangible data measuring the nutritiousness of your daily meals. This can be invaluable in avoiding common pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and anemia. Other free apps like My Fitness Pal can help you log your meals on the go, making it easy to see your daily goals at a snap. For more baby-centric health advice, Text4Baby offers free text message updates on your pregnancy and baby’s growth, helps track doctors’ appointments, and has tons of health and safety information available at your fingertips.

There’s a lot to consider at this milestone in your life, but the decisions you want to be foremost in your mind are the happy ones: baby names, nursery colors, bib patterns. Take advantage of the resources that exist to help you, so you can focus on finding the perfect onesie, not scrimping and saving to afford labor costs.