We often hear of the toll pregnancy takes on our bodies, and I can attest to that. Often I have stared in the mirror wondering if it will all go back into place, or even if I will one day again be able to move about the bed or couch without resembling a land lubing seal (complete with sound effects). But I know that I will, maybe not exactly the same but I will again resemble the woman I once was. Today I am referring to the fiscal cost.
As soon as the thought of babies entered my mind I had Todd join my private health fund and for years we have been dutifully paying the thousands in premiums for the privilege of comprehensive private health cover. I thought for sure that once children came along all the money invested would prove worthwhile, and after all ‘what if’.
What I am finding is that the choices we are making are not in line with reaping the illusive benefits of all these premiums paid. Choices such as pregnancy yoga, pregnancy aqua aerobics and massage are not on the list of ‘extras’ that can be reimbursed. Sure, if I wanted to join the one gym that my private health fund lists in my area I could drive 40 minutes and partake in a ladies-only 30 minute circuit (you know the one), and they would partially reimburse me, but that’s it. I was able to receive some reimbursement from the acupuncture and physiotherapy which was a nice surprise, but I know I am not going to receive any for the homeopathy or hypnobirthing.
These are all my choices and I will continue with them as I believe they are putting me in the best position for a natural birth and optimal healing process, but I am left wondering why they are so undervalued. When healthcare costs are impacting our society negatively why is preventative health not rewarded more than just the lip service given by Health Care Funds. I can guarantee you partially reimbursing my yoga, aqua, homeopathy and hypnobirthing sessions will be far less than paying for a prolonged hospital stay.
I rang my health care fund early on when thinking about a home birth. I knew I wasn’t going to have any luck but it was more out of curiosity to see how they would react. The conversation went something like this.
Me: Hi, I have private health cover and I just have some enquiries about pregnancy and labour.
Them: Sure, who is your obstetrician?
Me: I don’t have one.
Them: Oh, Ok, what hospital are you going through?
Me: Well hopefully none actually.
Them: I’m sorry?
Me: That’s what I’m calling about, I was wondering whether the fund covers some of the private midwife costs?
Them: A private midwife?
Them: But you’re not going through a hospital?
Me: No, I’m hoping for a home birth.
Them: No, sorry we don’t cover that type of birth.
Me: You’re sure? You don’t need to check with someone?
Them: No, It doesn’t fall under hospital cover.
Me: But what about all the extras I pay for?
Them: No. There is no provision for that. You would have to go to hospital to be covered. And we don’t pay for midwives.
I let it go at that. It seems that HCF’s are more than happy to pay out the thousands for private obstetricians and private hospitals – so long as you are making the approved choices. The comparatively miniscule cost of a private midwife at home – not a chance.
As I said these are my choices and I love the benefits I get from them emotionally, physically, and also socially by interacting with other pregnant mums. It is so reassuring to talk to others with foot-in-rib situations. And there is nothing quite like 15 big beautiful bellies bouncing around a resort pool to Salt n Peppa’s ‘Push It’ to lighten an afternoon mood. In the first week four male German tourists found themselves encircled by our group as we rode pool noodles around the perimeter. I still have no idea what they thought. The next week a few hotel guests joined in. Much to our amusement the larrikin man of the group had to give up halfway through – turns out underwater scissor kicks weren’t really his thing.