Is It Illegal To Not Go to the Doctor While Pregnant?

a pregnant woman

No. It’s not illegal to not go to the doctor when you’re pregnant.

It’s also not illegal to jump up and down on a pogo stick, throwing cheese puffs in the air while singing “Yankee Doodle.”

That doesn’t mean I would recommend it.

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Is it Illegal to Not See a Doctor While Pregnant?

Seeing a health care professional is vital to your unborn baby’s well-being. While it isn’t illegal to skip medical care, it’s inadvisable. A doctor will watch your baby’s growth, ensure you’re not developing a serious issue and give you methods to maintain your overall health during pregnancy.

Why You Might Not Want to See a Doctor While Pregnant

prenatal exam

My cousin was 15, pregnant and scared. She wore baggy sweatshirts to hide her growing belly and managed to keep the pregnancy a secret from everyone.

I saw her every day and never suspected she was pregnant. It was a shock to all of us when my grandmother called at two in the morning to tell us she had delivered a baby in her bedroom, by herself.

A young girl like my cousin might be too afraid to go to the doctor. She might fear what her parents will do or be in denial.

Another reason someone might skip going to the doctor is that they can’t afford it. The cost of having a baby can be several thousand dollars, even with insurance. A mom-to-be might feel like she’s saving money by avoiding early doctor visits.

There are also those who distrust medicine. These individuals might feel they are better served by not entering a hospital or doctor’s office. They might instead see a holistic doctor or a midwife.

The Problem With Avoiding Prenatal Care

a pregnant woman holding a prenatal care sign

The reason pregnant women go to the doctor for prenatal care is to ensure the health of herself and her unborn child.

Moms need to have their blood sugar levels and blood pressure monitored at a minimum. A very serious and not uncommon condition is preeclampsia.

Note:
You’ll need a medical provider to diagnose this blood pressure disorder. If it’s left unchecked, it can be fatal to both mother and child.

A medical provider will ensure a mom is taking care of herself. The provider will prescribe anti-nausea meds for women who suffer from severe morning sickness.

They will make sure the mom is taking the right prenatal vitamins, which is vital for avoiding disorders like spina bifida. They’ll also serve as a sounding board for all of a pregnant mom’s worries and woes.

Alternatives to Obstetricians

An obstetrician at a women’s and children’s hospital isn’t your only option for prenatal care.

Healthcare clinics, women’s birthing centers, midwives, and some general practitioners offer prenatal services that might be better for some situations.

Those who cannot afford prenatal health can visit a Planned Parenthood. They provide regular check-ups, including ultrasounds.

Key Takeaway

If you’re pregnant, see a healthcare provider. There are plenty of options for prenatal care, such as Planned Parenthood, midwives, general practitioners, and obstetricians.

Regardless of which you choose, you need them to take care of you and your baby.

What are your thoughts? Tell us in the comments!

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According to WomensHealth.gov, babies born to moms who don’t receive prenatal care are 3x more likely to have a low birth weight and about 5x more likely to die when compared to babies from moms who do receive prenatal health care.