Last updated on Jun 11th, 2021 at 12:46 pm

Covid has impacted our entire world, including everything from travel to fashion, work to entertainment.

If you’re about to become a parent for the first time, you may be wondering if there’s anything different about how you should be approaching the arrival of your child into this world, particularly from a healthcare perspective.

We spoke to some new parents, as well as some about to have their first child – to round up questions you should be thinking about, especially when it comes to your medical cover and care:

1.     Tell your medical aid and activate maternity benefits

Do you need to activate any maternity benefits? Some medical aids won’t cover any related claims if you haven’t told them you’re pregnant and activated your benefits, so keep this in mind.

Many medical aid companies like Fedhealth also offer great baby programmes giving you discounts on baby related items like travel systems and sleeping products, exercise classes and more. So do tell your medical aid the happy news and do take advantage of these sorts of discounts, as having a baby is an expensive life event.

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2.     Check what’s covered maternity-wise

Cape-Town based Charlotte Smith* is expecting a baby girl in June and she says it’s important to check what your medical aid will cover when it comes to healthcare providers and more. Don’t presume everything will be covered and then have to pay for a lot of things from your own pocket.

“If you’re on a network plan, check which gynaecologists and hospitals are included in your network and which are not. You should also check how many scans are covered, and which blood tests, as this can help you make more informed decisions,” she advises.

“If you’re on a network plan, check which gynaecologists and hospitals are included in your network and which are not.”

3.     Partners at scans and birth

The biggest difference most new mums mentioned were the changing admission policies when it came to having partners with you at hospitals.

Caryn Atkinson-Trott gave birth to a baby boy in Cape Town recently and said that although partners were not allowed to attend appointments, they were permitted at the birth – although these policies seemed to change from week to week, depending on the intensity of the pandemic at the time. “While masks were required on arrival, I was allowed to remove mine during labour,” she said.

4.     Where’s your village at?

Before the pandemic, many first-time parents found the experience of having a newborn lonely, but as you can imagine Covid has intensified this problem further. With no live antenatal classes, no baby showers and no pregnancy yoga studios to join for example, soon-to-be-mum Lucy O’Connell says she hasn’t met any other pregnant parents at all.

“I don’t really know many other people who are pregnant and not being able to meet any new ones has made us feel quite isolated in a way,” she comments. It’s important you feel supported so be sure to lean on friends or family for advice, or consult your healthcare provider for more urgent health-related matters.

5.     Ask questions

There are a lot of unknowns in this Covid-world so don’t be shy to ask your doctor/healthcare provider, your medical aid and the hospital/place at which you’re giving birth as many questions as you like.

Perhaps you want to know when you need to have a Covid test or who will pay for it? Maybe it’s around masks and when you need to wear them? Feeling like you understand any changes to processes or procedures will go a long way to reducing your stress over this time.

Your life is about to change in the most incredible way and although it may be slightly different to how you imagined, not even Covid can dim this exceptional event. Good luck!

*name changed

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