pregnant woman holding her belly
pregnant woman holding her belly

Resources for Pregnant Women in Illinois

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From finding out that you are pregnant to taking care of a child, or putting a child up for adoption, every step of pregnancy and parenthood can be a struggle. Luckily, the state of Illinois has several support systems for pregnant women, mothers and young children. These services are either free or inexpensive for parents.

Pregnancy Tests

A pregnancy test is the first step toward choosing what to do if you think you’re pregnant, which should be self-explanatory. However, many women in Illinois choose to not look for a pregnancy test because they do not have the money for it. It is even possible this happens because of the shame of being seen buying one. Nothing is wrong with taking a pregnancy test. And you can even get some for free.

Did you know that you can get free pregnancy tests in Illinois? Like all states, women can buy a pregnancy from most drug stores, grocery stores, or box stores. However, Illinois also has several resources where women can get access to free pregnancy tests. These resources include Aid for Women, Planned Parenthood, and various health departments around the state.

Home pregnancy tests and pregnancy tests offered by these organizations will have the same accuracy. Tests taken at hospitals will also have similar accuracy. Once a woman gets a positive test result, she should make a doctor’s appointment. If she cannot afford an appointment, Planned Parenthood or a local health department may be able to help.

WIC

The Illinois Department of Human Services offers aid for pregnant women and new mothers through Women, Infants, and Children. This service is also available in other states. It is most famous for providing food assistance to pregnant women and mothers with children who are under five years old. WIC is also available for women who have foster children under five years old.

Although the WIC and food stamps are similar, it should be noted that they are not the same thing. WIC only covers certain food products and brands, focusing on healthy choices. Families who qualify for WIC will be given a list of food items that are covered. To apply for WIC benefits, families should visit their local DHS office.

Medicaid Presumptive Eligibility

pregnant woman looking at the baby crib
Photo by Ömürden Cengiz on Unsplash

Pregnant women can use MPE (Medicaid Presumptive Eligibility) with some specific income requirements. The (IHFS) Illinois Department Of Healthcare and Family Services administers MPE with a section of All Kids. With this, temporary (under 2 months), immediate coverage is given to women who are pregnant.

Some of the important things to remember are:

  • Being a legal immigrant or a citizen is not a legal requirement
  • Pregnant women do not need Social Security numbers to participate
  • Co-payments and premiums do not exist

The great news about the program is that you can receive outpatient services whenever your MPE provider lets you know of your eligibility. And you can receive the benefits until the following month’s last day.

As an example, in the event that the application is signed on the date of March 1 and your MPE provider lets you know that you are eligible, outpatient services become available from the signature date and lasts until April 30. Similarly, when signing up on the date of March 29, outpatient services are received from that date until April 29.

Outpatient services through MPE include several things you would like, including doctor visits, prenatal checkups, lab tests, medicine, eye care, specialty medical care, prenatal vitamins, emergency room care, dental care, substance abuse services and mental health services.

In addition, you receive transportation whenever you need medical care. Some other services may also be available.

Adoption Agencies

Raising a child isn’t for everyone. If a woman finds herself to be pregnant and does not want to keep the baby or get an abortion, adoption may be the best option.

Any woman can place a child for adoption (although the father, if in the picture, will need to sign off on this as well). Typically, most adoption agencies in Illinois will allow women to place babies up for adoption for free. This is usually done while the woman is still pregnant, but can also be done shortly after a woman gives birth.

Depending on which adoption agency and adoptive parents a mother works with, some or all of her medical expenses will be covered. Adoptions can either be open or closed, which means mothers can choose to have contact with their biological child or not in the future.

Illinois has many free resources for pregnant women and young mothers. All families can benefit from looking into these services to save money and better provide for their families. Remember to bring your state ID whenever you plan to use these services. Other paperwork may also be required, depending on which services you use. When in doubt, call and ask the service to see what materials you will need.

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