Celebrate Black joy in your health and pregnancy
Make your health a priority – before, during and after pregnancy
Having a baby? Embrace your Black joy. Whether your pregnancy is planned or unplanned, now is the time to focus on your health. Let’s be honest, being pregnant can be complicated – physically, mentally and financially. The good news is there’s more help and hope available to you than ever before.
Black women deserve better care
Having a baby is a life-changing time in a woman’s life. It should be a joyful, exciting, heart-warming experience. Yet it can also be a challenging time for Black women.
UnitedHealthcare, along with other health care systems, companies and organizations, is finding new ways to help support your pregnancy through simple, affordable, supportive care. As a Black woman, you deserve to have quality health insurance that gives you access to the coverage and care you need from doctors who take the time to understand you and answer your questions. So you can focus on a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Health insurance makes a big difference
Whether you’re pregnant now or may be in the future, it’s important for you to have health insurance. Why? Your health will benefit, especially if there’s a chance you may become pregnant. Many employers offer health insurance. Or if that’s not an option or you’re not employed, then check into public benefits from your state like Medicaid.
Focus on a healthier you – before, during and after pregnancy
Before you’re pregnant
When you know what to expect, it may be easier to plan ahead. Being healthy is an important way to get yourself ready for parenthood. Focus on your care and wellbeing before you get pregnant. Even if you’re not planning on getting pregnant, here are some tips to consider, especially since nearly half of all U.S. pregnancies are unintended.1
- Eat healthy
- Exercise regularly
- Take a daily multivitamin with folic acid to promote good health
- Avoid smoking, alcohol and recreational drugs
During your pregnancy
Whether you planned to get pregnant or not, taking care of yourself during pregnancy matters to your health and your baby’s growth and development. You may benefit from care that’s tailored to your needs and gives you information on your health and risks. Remember that it’s natural to have questions and concerns. To help you get the most from your medical appointments, consider these 4 tips:
- Do your best to keep a diary, either on your phone or in a notebook, of your symptoms, concerns, feelings, and questions
- Bring a supportive person with you to your doctor visit if possible
- Be open with your doctor and share how you feel with statements like “I feel heard” or “I feel my concerns are not being addressed.” This may help you and your doctor get on the same page with your care.
If you’re curious about something or don’t understand what your doctor is saying, feel empowered to ask questions. For example:
- Ask why some tests may be recommended and if they’re helpful in general or specifically for Black women
- Ask about simpler, more affordable options and if they apply to you.
- Ask about risks to your pregnancy based on your medical history and current situation like amount of sleep, food choices or other factors in your life
- Ask if there are other questions you should be asking at your stage in the pregnancy that you may have missed
- It’s a good idea to repeat to your doctor what you think you heard so you know you’re understanding the information
- If it’s not clear, ask the health care provider to repeat what they say
- Ask to record important instructions if necessary. Or ask for additional instructions, materials, websites and apps to help you better understand.
- If you feel stuck with a doctor or care team who doesn’t feel right for you, get a second opinion. According to Dr. Bilikis Oladimeji, Optum Health Senior Director, “You have the power. You have the choice to be able to request the right type of care for yourself.”
After your pregnancy
After delivery, taking good care of yourself and your infant are important. Here are things to keep in mind:
- If you’re nursing, your body burns more calories so focus on eating nutritious foods.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
- Try to sleep or rest when your baby is sleeping
- Be aware of your feelings and emotions as well as the symptoms of postpartum depression.2 Talk to your doctor if you have concerns or are feeling off.
- Ask for help by letting family and friends know that they could deliver meals, help with chores or babysit
Most importantly, do your best to enjoy this special time and bond with your baby.
More help is here
Learn more about a healthy pregnancy or watch the Essence Festival session – Protecting the Joy of Childbirth.