Having a Baby

This part of the guide explains
• how to quit smoking, drinking, or doing drugs,
• how to get confidential health care during pregnancy,
• how to pay for your health care, and
• what to do if you do not want to keep your baby.

It’s important to take care of yourself while you are pregnant. You will need this information even if you are making an adoption plan.

What kind of health care do I need if I am pregnant?

You need health care to help you

  • stay healthy during pregnancy, and
  • have a healthy baby.

Your health care providers will check you regularly. They will keep track of how the pregnancy is going and check for health conditions that could cause problems during your pregnancy.

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Is it OK to smoke, use alcohol, or take drugs while pregnant?

No. Smoking, drinking, or taking drugs can be bad for you during pregnancy. Try to stop. If it is hard for you to stop, contact a treatment center.

These agencies and websites can help you find a treatment center near you:

  • Resource Center at the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Program 1-800-879-2772 or 1-800-662-4357 (24 hours)
  • List of county treatment centers: www.adp.cahwnet.gov.
  • Programs for youth in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Butte, Shasta, and Tehama counties: www.californiacares4youth.com.
  • Government programs for women and children: www.adp.cahwnet.gov.
  • Search for treatment options by city, county, and provider: txworks.adp.ca.gov.

If you are 12 or older, you do not need your parent’s permission for treatment. The services will be free or at a low cost—and private.

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Girl talk to Woman at health desk

Lori is really happy about the baby. But she is still doing drugs and drinking alcohol. Can she get help?

Yes. Any teen can get treatment. It’s free (or low cost) and private. If Lori is 12 or older, she can get treatment without her parent’s knowledge or consent.

Should I get tested for STIs if I am pregnant?

Yes. And if you have an STI, you can get treatment. This can keep you and your pregnancy safe. HIV/AIDS or another STI can cause serious health problems for your baby, but health professionals can take steps to prevent this. If you are 12 or older, you can get these services without your parent’s permission.

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Should I ask my health care provider about birth control while I am pregnant?

Yes. Asking about birth control now will give you time to decide what you will do after you have your baby.

Even if you are not planning to have sex after your baby is born, it’s a good idea to learn about your options. If providers do not talk to you about this, you should ask.

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How can I pay for my prenatal care?

You have several choices, including

  • your parents’ health insurance up to age 26, if you are a covered dependent and their policy covers maternity care,
  • Medi‑Cal’s Minor Consent Program,
  • another Medi‑Cal program, or
  • the adoptive parents, if the baby will be adopted.

Even if your parents’ health insurance covers you, it probably won’t cover your baby. For more information, see Health Care for Baby and You and Adoption.

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What if I do not want to tell my parents or use their insurance?

You can get prenatal care without telling your parents or using their insurance. If you do not want to tell your parents, you can apply for Medi-Cal’s Minor Consent Program.

Medi-Cal’s Minor Consent Program should cover you during pregnancy and birth and for two months after. Minor’s Consent Medi-Cal only lasts for 30 days at a time, so you will have to re-apply every month during your pregnancy. It does not matter

  • how old you are,
  • how much money your parents have, or
  • whether you are an undocumented immigrant.

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What if I go into labor but do not have any insurance yet?

You can still go to any hospital to have your baby. The law says a hospital must care for you during labor and birth. It does not matter

  • how old you are,
  • how much money you have, or
  • whether you are an undocumented immigrant.

But they can transfer you to another hospital, if a doctor feels it is safe for you and the baby.

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What if the hospital sends me a bill?

Apply for Medi‑Cal right away after your baby is born. You will probably be eligible, and Medi‑Cal can pay for the delivery. They may also pay for some of your health care from the last three months.

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What if I cannot deal with the baby after she’s born?

If you cannot or do not want to keep the baby, you can

  • drop the baby off at a safe place, called Safe Surrender Site (you must do this within three days of the child’s birth), or
  • arrange for the baby to be adopted. For more information, see Adoption.

If you drop the baby off at a Safe Surrender Site

  • no one will ask you questions,
  • you do not have to give your name or any other information,
  • everything you say will be kept a secret, and
  • the baby will be safe and cared for.

The person you give the baby to will put a bracelet on the baby’s ankle and explain how you can get the baby back if you change your mind in the next 14 days.

Most Safe Surrender Sites are at fire stations and hospitals. Look for this sign: safe surrender site symbol

Or find a list of Safe Surrender Sites at: www.babysafe.ca.gov.

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Can I get the baby back if I change my mind?

Yes, if

  • you did not hurt the baby before dropping the baby off, and
  • you ask for the baby back within 14 days.

To get your baby back, go to

  • the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) office, or
  • the Safe Surrender Site where you left the baby.

They can tell you how to find the baby.

You will need the information from the ankle bracelet that you got when you left the baby. If you do not have it, they may not be able to find your baby.

Child Protective Services will ask you about your situation and your ability to take care of your baby. They can also explain how to find the help you need to care for your baby.

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What if I miss the 14-day deadline?

If you miss the deadline, it will be very difficult to get the baby back. The baby will probably be placed for adoption.

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Table of Content

· Special Situations

CA Coalition for Youth Need a place to stay now?
1.800.843.5200 Go to Site

National Domestic Violence Hotline Is someone hurting you?
1.800.799.7233 Go to Site

Adolescent Family Life Program Pregnancy and Parenting Services
1.800.241.0395 Go to Site

California Courts Self Help Center Go to Site

Teen Source Sexual Health Info for YouthGo to Site

LawHelp California Free Legal Assistance and Information
1.800.914.2272 Go to Site

ACCESS Women's Health Hotline
1.800.376.4636 Go to Site