By: Emily Graham
Being pregnant is a wonderful experience, but it can be worrisome too. Many moms-to-be get overwhelmed with concern about the baby’s health, the challenges of motherhood, and the financial stresses of being pregnant and having a baby. Let’s look at the monetary issues you may face, and some solutions on how to save money as you prepare for your little one’s arrival.
Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Costs
Even if you are fortunate enough to have insurance, that doesn’t mean all your costs will be covered. According to a 2013 study by Truven Health Analytics, the average out-of-pocket costs for labor and delivery was $1,686 for vaginal delivery and $1,948 for caesarean births. However, that doesn't include newborn care in the hospital, which can be another $500 or more. Even if your insurance covers your entire labor and delivery costs, you'll still need to pay the deductible and copays along the way. Things like elective testing or over-the-counter prenatal vitamins won't be covered either. List all your potential costs, then talk with your insurance provider about what your actual out-of-pocket costs will be so that you'll know what you're facing.
Some women want a doula to assist during labor and childbirth. The price of a doula varies drastically by where you live and what services they provide. According to Parents.com, in major cities, a doula hired just for labor and delivery can cost $3,500 or more. Most insurance plans do not cover all the costs of a doula; however, the fees could be paid by a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA). Midwifery can be covered by some plans and average $2,000 to $4,000, depending on location and services.
Ways You Can Save While Pregnant & After the Baby Is Born
Skip the Maternity Clothes
You probably don’t need to buy new maternity wear. Take a look in your closet — maxi dresses, slouchy sweaters, and stretchy skirts can all be worn throughout your pregnancy. If you are short on clothes, talk to any friends, relatives, co-workers, or neighbors who’ve been pregnant in the last few years. They will probably let you borrow clothes or even give them to you.
Purchase Used Baby Clothes
Babies grow out of their clothes extremely fast. Therefore, you shouldn't blow your budget on hundreds of dollars worth of baby clothing. Instead, maybe buy one special outfit, and then try to find used clothing whenever possible. Many areas have stores dedicated to used baby and children's clothing and furnishings. Also, check with other moms who have little ones to see if they want to donate, loan, or sell baby clothes to you.
Don’t Buy All the Baby Gear
Although it can be tempting to buy your baby every little thing, it's not a financially smart decision. When it comes to the nursery and other goods, try to keep it very simple. Put the basics on your baby registry. Then, whatever items you don't receive from friends and family, try to find used. The major exceptions for used items are car seats and cribs. You should never buy a used car seat, as you won't know if it has damage from a previous accident or other issues. And as for cribs, you must be extremely careful that the crib is safe and functional. Avoid drop-side cribs, check all recall lists, and preferably buy from someone you know.
Shop the Sales
For all the little stuff you may want for your baby — from pacifiers to burp cloths — keep an eye out for sales. You have nine months to accumulate all the essentials and extras, so don’t impulse buy. When shopping for your baby, don’t forget to pick up a few things for your diaper bag, which kill quickly become your best friend. Kindred Bravely points out that cute headbands, extra T-shirts, hair ties, and other items can be bought on sale and then easily tossed in your diaper bag until the baby has arrived.
Although having and raising a baby does cost money, it doesn’t have to put you in debt. Be smart about what you buy and look for ways to get discounted, donated, and loaned items. It doesn’t matter if everything for your baby is new; it matters that they are healthy and loved.
Emily Graham is the creator of Mighty Moms. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life. On her site, she offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms -- from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family.