Surprise – I am pregnant! Finding out that I am blessed to carry and have a baby has been one of the most exciting times in my life.

I found out I was pregnant back in the fall of 2014. Through the many ups and downs of growing a baby I have come to realize just how expensive it is to prepare for a child. There are many
components that I never even thought about before: clothing, diapers, crib, baby accessories, day care …the list can go on and on.

And let’s not forget one of the biggest items: medical bills.pregnant

High Impact for Employers

The impact doesn’t end at my family’s wallet; employers who provide self-funded health benefits or sponsor other types of health benefits also pay a pretty penny for baby’s arrival.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that a cesarean section (C-section) is in the top five most costly surgeries in the U.S at a total of $7.48 billion. With approximately 4 million births in the United States each year, pregnancy and childbirth-related conditions are the leading causes for hospital stays and account for almost 25 percent of U.S. hospitalizations.

Employers can provide expecting employees with useful information to guide them through a healthy pregnancy to avoid C-sections, pregnancy complications or long hospital stays. Here’s some information I found helpful in making informed decisions and taking control of pregnancy-related costs.

Hospital Quality Ratings

Would you pick a hospital that gets five stars for birthing center quality issues over a hospital that gets one star?

The Alliance’s Find a Doctor site shares quality information that can help you or your employees make the important decision of where to have your baby.

Below: a screenshot of a hospital’s safety score and birthing care quality scores in Find a Doctor.

quality scores

Quality scores for birthing care rank hospitals from one to five stars based on their C-section rate and obstetrical trauma for mothers. Star ratings are based on data from Illinois hospitals and the Wisconsin Hospital Association and are calculated using AHRQ measures.

Find a Doctor also shares The Leapfrog Group’s Hospital Safety Scores, which give hospitals a grade of A, B, C, D or F based on based on expert analysis of inpatient injuries, infections and medical errors.

The Alliance can help you introduce Find a Doctor – and its birthing center ratings – to your employees with worksite presentations and materials.

‘What to Reject When You’re Expecting’

ConsumerReportsHealth published “What to reject when you’re expecting” in 2012 and got the largest social media response of any health article in Consumer Reports history. The article has since been updated and printed as a brochure to help parents and families understand the importance of a healthy pregnancy.

The article offers:

  • 10 procedures to think twice about during your pregnancy
  • 10 things you should do during your pregnancy
  • 5 things to do before you become pregnant
  • Success stories
  • General resources

I found this guide helpful in learning what to expect, reject or accept in regards to maternity care.  View the Consumer Reports article here or  download the brochure here.

Choosing WiselyChoosing Wisely & Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports recently launched a Safe Pregnancy hub to help moms-to-be easily find information on specific health topics, including many materials from the  Choosing Wisely campaign. The hub includes:

  • Articles from Consumer Reports
    • 10 Over-the-counter Drugs to Avoid During Pregnancy
    • What Hospitals Don’t Want You to Know About C-Sections
    • The Great Fish Debate
  • YouTube videos
  • Educational resources to help patients and doctors discuss treatment options
  • Wikipedia links on pregnancy and cesarean sections.

View the Safe Pregnancy Hub here.

Baby Love

BabyLove

The Alliance offers the free Baby Love program to all our members’ employees.

When your employee calls our Baby Love education service, expectant moms receive a free and confidential health risk screening performed by a registered nurse. The nurse will coach them about the things they need to be aware of during their pregnancy and whether their pregnancy may be high risk. Expectant moms also receive self-care information to promote good health during their pregnancy.What to Expect

As a special bonus for contacting Baby Love, The Alliance gives moms-to-be one of these three reference books:

  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting
  • What to Expect – The First Year
  • What to Expect – The Toddler Years

For more information about Baby Love call 608.276.7584 Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Share the Love

During my pregnancy I’ve learned that having access to reliable information is really helpful. I hope these ideas help you share some “Baby Love” with your employees as they navigate the exciting,
expensive process of welcoming a new baby.

Pregnancy Resources:

Tierney Anderson

Tierney Anderson

Senior Marketing & Events Specialist at The Alliance
Tierney Anderson joined The Alliance in 2009 and currently serves as the cooperative's marketing & events specialist. She previously served as marketing and member services coordinator. Her responsibilities include the development of effective communications and marketing materials for Alliance members and business partners by executing marketing plans and promoting products, services and events.

In addition to her work at The Alliance, Tierney is an active member on The Business Forum, previously serving on the board and acting as senior chair for the ATHENA committee. Tierney also participates in the Advertising Federation of Madison and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network of Madison.

Tierney earned her bachelor's degree of business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with an emphasis in information systems and a certification on the Project Management Body of Knowledge.

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