You know new life is precious and getting the best care is important. With the right support, you can have peace of mind when it comes to the care your child needs or when you’re thinking of growing your family.
With having a family, there is a lot to consider when it comes to your child’s health, nutritional and physical wellbeing. This starts when you are expecting and lasts long into their young lives. So, it is understandable that you can feel overwhelmed when you have to make choices to ensure you give your child the best care from the start.
Protecting the good health of mother and child
Cost is often the first factor that can come in the way of adequate care during pregnancy or in a child’s first years. And it is no wonder, when you consider the bill for healthcare alone during a a healthy pregnancy and birth can be more than R120 000 – and this increases when there are risk factors or complications.
As you have experienced, there are also many other healthcare needs in the first two years of a child’s life. These costs of medical care, including GP and specialist visits, can easily add up to R80 000.
Why caring for mother and child in the first 1 000 days is so crucial
Taking care of your body and mind during pregnancy is the foundation to a healthy pregnancy. Everything you do during your pregnancy can influence how it progresses, the type of labour you experience and, ultimately, the health of your child.
While womens’ bodies were made for pregnancy and most progress perfectly, regular check ups during pregnancy and after giving birth have numerous benefits for the family:
You can take action as soon as you identify a problem. Around the world, there is still a high death rate among pregnant women who do not get proper care. Visiting your midwife or doctor regularly can help identify any pregnancy risks, like low birth weight of your baby, and pregnancy-related diabetes or high blood pressure.
You can make the necessary changes to your lifestyle and diet. While pregnant, your body’s needs change. Maintaining healthy weight gain, foods to avoid and supplementation are all part of the advice you receive for a healthy pregnancy. You can decide to have a flu vaccination for protection against influenza because medicine use, unless prescribed and monitored, is not always recommended. Safe exercise and your general mental health will also be discussed as your pregnancy progresses to make sure you remain well. It also helps to identify any early warning signs of physical and emotional fatigue.
You will see how your baby is growing and get appropriate tests. How your baby is developing is a major indicator of how well he or she is doing. There are standard blood and other tests you will need during every stage of pregnancy. Depending on your medical history and age, tests like an amniosintecis may also be ordered to determine the risk for genetic abnormalities. Generally, additional tests will only be done when there is a clear risk to your pregnancy or baby.
You build a relationship with your doctor or care giver. This is important in deciding how and where your baby will be delivered. You will have all the information you need to decide on a birth plan that considers any risk factors to a healthy delivery or even the possible early birth of your baby.
You are at your best and keep your baby healthy. Following the birth, you need to keep up the recommended follow-up visits for you and your baby. These generally happen at around six weeks after the birth. Having support with monitoring your health and wellbeing and how your baby is growing is important for future health. Deciding on vaccinations and learning as much as you can about what your baby or toddler needs to stay healthy, are part of the support your healthcare team will provide.
Monitoring your child’s health
Your chosen health plan offers you cover for your child’s GP visits and other check ups. Take a look at the extra cover you have. Discovery Health Medical Scheme’s Maternity Benefit, for example, pays for GP or specialist visits until your child turns two. There are many services, including dietitians, your GP, clinics and other sources of information that will guide you to the necessary vaccinations and health checks your child needs at every age. Keeping an eye on how your child is growing, their dental health, their activity levels and what they eat is all part of raising a healthy child with an awareness of health and wellness.So, if you’re planning on growing your family this year or want to make sure you make the best choices for your child’s health, take a look at your health plan and how the cover you have will support your healthcare needs every step of the way.
Peace of mind with Discovery Health Medical Scheme's Maternity Benefit
From the start, you have full support in care and advice
New apps give you 24/7 advice and guidance. The My Pregnancy and My Baby programmes are available through the Discovery app and on the website.
Alongside access to clinical support and knowledge, the Maternity Benefit is tailored to offer comprehensive cover that does not affect your day-to-day benefits.
The Maternity Benefit covers all the care you need during pregnancy. It includes cover for one flu vaccination, up to 12 consultations at your gynaecologist, GP or midwife and your pregnancy-related blood tests. Two 2D ultrasound scans and one nuchal translucency. You are also covered for one Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) screening if you meet the clinical entry criteria.
You also have access to a nutritional assessment with a dietitian, and consultations with a counsellor or psychologist.
Support services after the birth
Until the age of two, your baby will have cover for two visits to your chosen GP, paediatrician or an ENT specialist. You can attend up to five pre- or postnatal consultations, up until two years after birth, with a registered nurse. For advice and help with breastfeeding, you can also make one visit to a nurse or lactation specialist.
Your Maternity Benefit will be activated when you create your pregnancy or baby profile on www.discovery.co.za or on the Discovery app. A consultant will also activate it for you when you preauthorise your pregnancy and delivery or register your baby on Discovery Health Medical Scheme. And, because the first 1 000 days are precious for a child’s development, there is also the Vitality Baby 1 000 days programme that offers added care, savings and rewards.
NetCells, Next Biosciences' umbilical cord stem cell banking service, gives expectant parents the opportunity to collect their new born baby's umbilical cord blood and tissue stem cells and cryogenically store them for potential future medical use.