Pregnancy is such an important time for a mom and her baby. The right medical and financial support is key to this beautiful journey. Amy Christopher was amazed that she had access to comprehensive maternity and post-birth benefits.
Pregnant for the first time, Amy and her husband Alex are expecting a son in early August 2019. “Four weeks in, we found out I was pregnant and had a scan. Baby was about 2 mm in size but his heartbeat, so strong. You can imagine our joy and excitement!”
Now almost 30-weeks pregnant, Amy can reflect on what she’s learned so far. “With a baby on the way, there are a bunch of decisions to be made (our baby still hasn’t got a name) and even more things to buy (our baby room-to-be is currently ‘baby item chaos-room’). Then, there are a host of costs to really get to grips with. That includes researching and pricing all the items we need to buy for baby and for me, as well as medical costs.”
Amy amazed by access to the Maternity Benefit – designed for her and baby
“For me and Alex, all this has meant getting a really good handle on our Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) cover and how we can fall back on this financial assistance. We were amazed to find that, over and above our Medical Savings Account, we had access to the Maternity Benefit, which offers additional cover both during pregnancy and for two years after birth.”
Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of the Centre for Clinical Policy at Discovery Health and mother of three explains: “It’s so important that we take the best possible care of our mothers and their babies both during pregnancy and for two years post-birth. That’s why we designed the Maternity Benefit to offer DHMS members access to comprehensive maternity and post-birth benefits supported by access to 24/7 support, advice and guidance through the My Pregnancy and My Baby programmes.”
Step 1 for moms: Activate your My Pregnancy programme when you find out you’re pregnant
“When my mom was pregnant with me in the early 80s, there were one or two key books to read up on and 4D scans were unheard of, let alone access to mobile apps,” says Amy. “Today’s moms can choose from a massive array of literature, video content, pregnancy and health apps that track every week or month of the journey and more. But how do you know you’re getting the right advice?”
Activating the My Pregnancy programme here (or on the Discovery app for iPhone or Android) unlocks your Maternity Benefit and immediate support, advice and tools, allowing you to track your pregnancy, get weekly milestones and view personalised checklists, on your mobile device or online.
Preauthorise the delivery of your baby
It’s also easier than ever to preauthorise your hospital admission for the birth of your baby through the My Pregnancy programme. You can preauthorise your hospital admission, or change your preauthorised admission date online by activating the My Pregnancy programme. Preauthorising your pregnancy and delivery will ensure that you always know how you are covered for your pregnancy-related healthcare services.
What’s covered by the Maternity Benefit, during your pregnancy?
- Antenatal consultations
You are covered for up to 12 visits at your gynaecologist, GP or midwife, based on the plan you choose.
- Ultrasound scans and prenatal screening
You are covered for up to two ultrasound scans and one nuchal translucency scan. You are also covered for one Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) if you meet the clinical entry criteria.
- Blood tests
A defined basket of blood tests, per pregnancy, are included in the Maternity Benefit.
- A private ward
On the Executive and Comprehensive plans, you have cover for up to R1 880 per day in a private ward for your delivery in hospital.
- Essential registered devices
On the Executive and Comprehensive plans, you have cover for up to R5 000 for essential registered devices e.g. breast pumps and smart thermometers with a co-payment of 25%.
- Antenatal classes or consultations with a nurse
“The Maternity Benefit offers cover for up to five pre-natal (also called antenatal) or postnatal classes or consultations with a registered nurse,” says Dr Nematswerani. This includes cover for online antenatal courses such as those offered by BellyBabies. BellyBabies allows users to stream content from a library of over 50 videos, on any digital device. These videos cover the whole journey from pregnancy to birth and the postnatal stage, and are presented by experts including an obstetrician/gynaecologist, paediatric dietitian, psychiatrist, specialist anaesthesiologist, GP, specialist paediatrician, physiotherapist and registered nurses. BellyBabies also offers an interactive question and answer platform, should members have any questions which are not answered in the video content. “These online antenatal courses are covered by the Maternity Benefit – so it’s not paid from a member’s medical savings,” adds Dr Nematswerani.
What’s covered by the Maternity Benefit, for two years after birth?
Your baby is covered for up to two visits with a GP, paediatrician or an ENT. The extent of this cover depends on the medical scheme plan you’re on.
- GP and specialist visits
You are covered for one six-week, post-birth consultation with a midwife, GP or gynaecologist.
- Six-week consultation
You are covered for one nutrition assessment with a dietitian.
- Nutrition assessment
You are covered for up to two mental health consultations with a counsellor or psychologist, ensuring emotional support for you when you’re dealing with a new baby, limited sleep, and the possibility of post-natal depression.
- Mental health
You are covered for one lactation consultation with a registered nurse or lactation specialist.
- Lactation consultation
Step 2: Once baby is born, activate the My Baby programme
As soon as you’re up to it, after you’ve given birth, visit our website or your Discovery App, to activate additional baby benefits when you register your baby on your DHMS health plan (application form to register your baby here and activate the My Baby programme where you will create your baby’s profile by following the simple steps listed. You can then track your child’s milestones, view your screening and vaccinations history and connect with your doctors.
“Financial peace of mind has been integral to the process too.”
“Pregnancy has forced me to slow down and take stock of life,” says Amy. “It’s helped me to focus on my mental, physical and emotional wellbeing – all for the sake of my growing child. But, financial peace of mind has been integral to the process too. For us, the DHMS Maternity Benefit showed that our medical scheme has really taken the time to understand the help that every mom and child needs on a maternity journey and beyond. I appreciate that very much.”
The Discovery Health Medical Scheme is an independent non-profit entity governed by the Medical Schemes Act, and regulated by the Council for Medical Schemes. It is administered by a separate company, Discovery Health (Pty) Ltd, an authorised financial services provider.