Healthy Pregnancy

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Every woman entrepreneur makes choices when she becomes pregnant. There is almost nothing prescribed about how the pregnancy months or the months afterwards will proceed. Every woman’s story is different. And because there is no single path, no single story, no single best option, it helps to learn what other women have done when they’ve crossed into the hectic world of pregnant entrepreneurship. Here is one woman’s experience, published in DailyWorth on 9/10/14.

 

 

Nine days after my c-section, I took on a new client.

In the final days of my pregnancy — in excruciating pain from my ribs being pushed out from the inside, like some horror-movie reverse corset — I read an article suggesting that after you have a baby, you should wear nursing pajamas all day as a visual reminder that you are still recovering and should not be expected to cook or make your guests a cup of tea.

 

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breakfast (2)
It can be hard to keep so many balls in the air and still take care of yourself. I’m sharing one of my favorite and fast breakfasts ever. Actually, one of my favorite meals ever.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 green or yellow zucchini
  • 1 onion
  • jar of salsa
Fast, healthy, yummy

Fast, healthy, yummy

 

Recipe:

Saute the diced onion and zucchini for about 5 minutes in a smidgen of olive oil. Scramble in 2 eggs. I often do this right in the pan, so I don’t have another prep dish to clean. Top with a spoonful of prepared salsa. If you have time, serve with a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese, or do without. If you are really in a rush, put the eggs in a tortilla wrap and head out the door.

Here’s wishing you a healthy pregnancy.

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On October 1, 2013, major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) kick in (again). If you are pregnant, or thinking about becoming pregnant, this could matter greatly to you.

A friend of mine recently shared that she’s suddenly and happily pregnant, but in a job situation that she is desperate to get out of. She started her own side business just this year, but there hasn’t been time to ramp it up, leave her old job, and switch over to her husband’s employer-provided healthcare plan. Her immediate options are:

1. Leave her job immediately, which she desperately wants to do, and pay COBRA to continue her existing insurance to continue her current coverage, which will cover her pregnancy and delivery.

2. Leave her job immediately, and petition her husband’s employer to allow their family to begin a family policy under his company’s insurance. It is common practice, although not a given, that most companies allow an employee to opt in to company insurance when there has been a major life event, such as a spouse’s job change, divorce, or death. It is also not a given that her husband’s employer policy would cover the pregnancy, since that was a pre-existing condition.

3. Stay in her job until after her delivery.

So what chances due to ACA after October 1, 2013? Well, for one, good luck getting straight answers from anyone. Because of the political rancor surrounding this Act, and the huge changes that are going into effect, there is a sea of information and misinformation about what may or may not be changing. Over the next few months, if you find yourself newly pregnant or in a situation like I describe above, be sure to carefully document who you talk to about changes in your healthcare, and get it in writing if you can!

The big change will be the insurance exchanges that states will offer to provide affordable healthcare to just about everyone. But because each state also has the option of opting out of providing a state healthcare exchange (in which case, the state exchange is run by the federal government), the answers to questions like these are going to be different in parts of the country.

If you are a pregnant entrepreneur with no primary health insurance or spouse-provided coverage, the ACA does not mean that you will suddenly have free insurance. In fact, although the exchanges open October 1, coverage will take affect January 1, 2014 for those enrolled by December 15, 2013.

What the ACA does do for the first time, however, is prohibit insurance companies for turning an applicant down for insurance, jacking up their rates, or excluding care due to their medical history and pre-existing conditions, according to the Huffington Post. That is good news if you have not had insurance or need to switch policies during the middle of pregnancy.

Also new, health insurance policies generally will cover important things they have not in the past. Well-visits and breast pumps are covered today, while they were not just a few years ago.

However, be aware that there are loopholes and quirks in the system. If you have questions about your coverage, it won’t be a surprise if you have to make several phone calls, wade through pages of insurance information, and ask your question several different ways to get answers to your specific questions.

Still need to know more? Of course you do. Check out this helpful insurance exchange calculator tool from the Kaiser Family Foundation to see what insurance, premiums, and subsidies might look like for your family after January 1, 2014.

*Please note that I am not an insurance rep or agent. The best advice is to meet with a qualified insurance professional who can evaluate your family’s individual needs. There are also paid guides, called Navigators, who are being trained to help people through their state’s exchange programs. Please search the internet for “(your state) health care exchange” to find these trained resources.

Are you a pregnant entrepreneur and uninsured? What’s your experience getting coverage through the new health care exchanges?

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Hey, have you heard the news?  Kids are expensive. 

OK, maybe that’s not news, but it makes the news every now and then.  Thinking about this, in an ideal world, should start before you add kids or another kid to the mix.

Marketplace Money is one of my favorite places to get my news, and you can hear their recent take on how to brace yourself for the costs of kids

Need some ideas on how to cut costs?  Read come of my strategies on what’s available at consigment sales, and check out my favorite go-to book on buying for baby, called Baby Bargains by Denise and Alan Fields.

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If you are an entrepreneur, your insurance situation may start out precarious, and then you get pregnant.  The best situation is to have a working spouse with good company provided health care, but we aren’t all so lucky.  What about women who are really out there in entrepreneur-land without a net?

Well, you’re a smart woman, so you picked up health insurance.  Great.  But, what if you were one of the unlucky ones who bought a health insurance policy that didn’t cover maternity and pregnancy care?????  Uh, oh. Yes, it can happen.  Similarly, your policy may consider a pregnancy put into place within the first (X) number of months to be a pre-existing condition.  Bizarre. 

In Pennsylvania, there is a state-run program called (Health Beginnings/Healthy Beginnings Plus) If you are pregnant, you may be eligible for Healthy Beginnings – a Medical Assistance program that provides comprehensive health care coverage to pregnant women during pregnancy and for their babies for a full year. The program is completely free. Call 1-800-842-2020 for more information on how to apply and where you may receive care at a location near you. You can also access Web information at www.dpw.state.pa.us, “Services for Low-Income Pennsylvanians.” If you meet the income requirements to be eligible for medical assistance, you may be eligible for this program.

You may also negotiate with a private provider for reduced rates in exchange for cash or advanced payments.  You may also check into alternate care providers.  The Bryn Mawr Birth Center is a women’s health facility located across the street from Bryn Mawr Hospital (their backup facility), and they offer “scholarship” type plans on a limited basis.  It is worth making some phone calls to your preferred provider to find out what arrangements can be made to handle your care.

We can only hope that the health care changes passed in recent years address these problems so that all new moms have access to adequate care.  Especially if they are working their butts off as risk-taking entrepreneurs.

If you are not yet pregnant, take the time to read your health insurance policy and sit down with your insurance provider.  There may be time to correct your insurance situation and ensure those premiums you’ve been paying will actually cover a pregnancy in the future, either by adding coverage, waiting out a specified time period, or switching providers. 

 

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The thing about being a pregnant entrepreneur is that, God willing, you eventually get to be a mompreneur.  Such is my wonderful life.  With almost 5 years of parenting under my belt, I still remember those fears I had while pregnant (both times) about how I was going to manage parenting and add it to my well-orchestrated days. Today, I have a funny story share.

Just last week, my youngest (code named Lambchop) gave up nursing over the holidays.  Yes, I nursed nearly continuously through constant operations of my business.  The frequency whittled down to just bedtime snuggles.  Then, yesterday…

Lambchop:  Mama, numnum?

Me: No, honey. All done. Hugs?

I saw her little face screw up into that face right before a tantrum hits.  Then…

Wait for it….

Lambchop:  Cheeeeeesh?

 

I’ve been replaced by a stick of cheddar.  I wish all of motherhood was so easy.

 

My hope is that some newly pregnant mom will read this post and be struck by these truths:

1.  You can do anything while working, even nurse for a very long time.

2. Kids grow up way faster than we think.  Remember, the years are short even while the days are long.

3. Your kids will eventually give you your body back,  even while they take your shoes. 

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Chiropractic is a bit of a mystery to me. I’m not completely sure how it works, but it does. It works without drugs and without surgery. When it comes to pregnancy and post-pregnancy, moms and moms-to-be don’t have time for either drugs or surgery, but we may still need a little help to keep running well.

During pregnancy, I sought out chiropractic for shooting pain in my lower back, right where the baby was throwing off my balance. I was a tiny bit nervous when asked to lay on a skinny little table and contort while listening to “pop pop pop”. My two year old daughter attended sessions with me, and she heard mommy’s “popcorn”. But the relief from the pressure in my back was nearly immediate. The treatment took a round of about ten visits before delivery. The fact that I was healthy was probably one of the reasons I was able to get through another natural childbirth experience.

My midwife recommended my chiropractor. I called around and verified that this chiropractor would care for pregnant women. It turns out she has a specialty I didn’t need, which is turning breech babies in the womb so the mother can deliver as planned and avoid a mandatory c-section. Amazing, but Dr. Brandie states she’s had high levels of success with these cases. If I were faced with a breech delivery, I would certainly give it a try.

Just today I returned to my chiropractor for help with my back, this time in the upper back area. Hmmm. The kids are two and four now. Do you think picking up 30 squirming pounds a day, contorting to get them in car seats and shopping carts, has any effect on my health? I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep and a trip back to “my” chiropractor tomorrow morning to continue a short course of corrective care.

I’m still not sure how chiropractic works, but then again I’m not entirely sure how any pain reliever or medical treatment works. But I do know that when something works for people I trust or for me, I’m going to use if when needed.

If you are in the eastern PA area, you might want to know that Dr. Brandie Nemchenko can be reached at 610-337-7634 and www.KOPWellness.com. You might want to read Dr. Brandie’s story about her own pregnancy and how it led her to a career in chiropractic.  If you are in another part of the country, find out more about chiropractic and find a doctor at http://icpa4kids.com/index.php .

Taxes are boring and tedious, until you find something that pays you back money.  I have just the ticket for you.  A new tax provision allows you to deduct your breast feeding pump and supplies.  This is great news since a good pump can take a bite out of your new baby budget.  I spent roughly $300 on mine just a few years ago, and mine didn’t even come with a sporty knapsack like the newer ones do. 

 

Not everyone can deduct their pumps.  Section 502 of the tax code applies to those who are able to take the medical deduction on their Schedule A, which means you must have had more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) in medical expenses.  But look over the list, because you might be closer than you think to meeting that threshold.  Payments to COBRA, insurance premiums you pay, and other big ticket items may apply.

If you don’t meet the AGI threshold but you have a Flex Spending Account (FSA) or medical savings account through your spouse’s employer, you may be able to purchase a pump with FSA funds.  FSA funds are generally pre-tax, so that offers you a bit of a savings.  But be sure to check with your plan, as the health laws are constantly changing.  Recently some or all FSA’s required previously covered over the counter (OTC) items to now require a doctor’s prescription.  So check with your doctor, and have her write you a script for your pump.  The extra paperwork might just save you a chunk of change.

As always, check with your CPA or financial advisor for specifics in your situation.

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Kelly McBride of Belly Pilates in Philadelphia has hit on a great idea…a series of free workshops covering a huge range of topics important to pregnant women, new moms, and their families.  Check it out here.  Even if you miss the series, looking at the list of topics covered might give you ideas on how to find resources for the issues you are noodling through.

Click here to see the video of Resources for New Moms , highlighting www.bellypilates.com.

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When you are a pregnant entrepreneur, you don’t have time to be sick.  You’re on a schedule, and if youskip a beat, how will you ever be ready for your baby?  That’s one deadline that you can’t possbily miss, and you might even need to put the breaks on ahead of schedule!

Before kids, I never thought about things like getting a flu shot.  But during pregnancy, my docs highly recommended I get the flu shot, especially since we were dealing with the dreaded Swine Flu (or H1N1) the year I was pregnant with my firstborn.  

“Flu is a terribly uncomfortable illness at best, and for many it can be life-threatening,” says Andrea Hanaway, M.D., board-certified Emergency Medicine physician and PriorityCare’s medical director. “Getting a flu shot truly is one of the easiest things people can do to stay healthy this winter.”

The flu is caused by various influenza viruses. Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, aches, chills and fatigue. Most healthy people recover without problems, but people 65 and over, pregnant women, young children and people with chronic health conditions are at higher risk for serious complications and even death.

If you are already a mom, you probably know that your kids are the shortest distance between you and an illness.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone at least 6 months old be vaccinated against seasonal flu. The CDC also says that children ages 6 months to 8 years who did not get at least one dose of the 2010-2011 flu vaccine should get two doses of the vaccine this season. According to the CDC, October is the best month to receive a flu vaccination.  

Healthy Pregnancy with a Flu Shot

For those who don’t have timely access to a physician’s office, PriorityCare is the perfect location for high-quality, expedient and cost-effective flu vaccination. Flu vaccinations
are available daily, without an appointment at PriorityCare locations at Wind Gap and Bethlehem from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. Both offices are staffed by a physician, nurses and an X-ray technician.

                                      

ABOUT PRIORITYCARE

PriorityCare is a network of urgent care
centers providing quality, convenient, cost-effective medical care for
non-emergency illnesses and injuries, as well as occupational health,
preventive and wellness services including physicals, drug testing, and
vaccinations. For more information about PriorityCare, please visit www.prioritycare.net

 

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