The recent Gallup Organization survey notes that women are putting off both pregnancy and gynecological exams due to financial constraints and money concerns.
According to coverage of this issue in the Chicago Tribune, “Women who were in a relationship but not married were most concerned about an unintended pregnancy, at 33 percent. Almost one in ten married women said the economy was a factor in their decision to postpone a planned pregnancy.”
Postponing a pregnancy is one thing; dire consequences won’t come of avoiding a pregnancy, but skipping gynecological exams due to economics is quite another issues. Women need to have a basic gynecological exam on a schedule. Some experts recommend annually, others bi-annually, but no matter the schedule, skipping health care due to costs is something that may create problems, especially if you’re planning on having children later on. Pelvic exams, pap smears and mammograms (if you’re the right age) can help prevent major illnesses by catching issues early. Regular gynecological exams also mean healthier babies later on. Most exam appointments screen for STDs. Many STDs if gone undetected can create fertility problems later on.
However, it’s all good and well to preach about the benefits of gynecological exams, but if you can’t afford one, you can’t. So, if you’re in this boat, how can you get the health care you need?
Resources for free or low-cost health care for women:
AHIRC.org: An up-to-date, comprehensive and unbiased database of health care resources for artists, performers, freelancers and the self-employed.
Planned Parenthood exists in most cities and offers sliding scale and low-cost health care for women, including full gynecological exams, pregnancy testing, birth control, STD testing, and so much more. Plus they’re not snotty. Everyone I know who has ever visited a Planned Parenthood has claimed that the experience was a good one.
The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, helps low-income, uninsured and under-served women gain access to early detection programs for breast and cervical cancers. Services like pap tests and mammograms are provided free-of-charge or on a sliding scale based on your income. Call: 1-800-CDC-INFO to learn more.
If you are pregnant and uninsured find out how you can get free or low-cost coverage.
Find guides to health insurance coverage for your state at CoverTheUninsured.org.
Another idea is to check with your local college. Even if you don’t currently attend, many college campuses, especially those with health programs, offer lower cost health care visits and plans.
Do you have any tips for finding the women’s health care you need?
[image via stock.xchng]