Pregnancy is a time of joy.We tend to focus on the excitement of a new baby. There’s anxiety, too, but it’s mostly around what kind of parent we’ll be. Most of the time, we’re not thinking about how much a pregnancy will cost us. But should we?
On the face of things, pregnancy doesn’t cost much. It’s not until the baby arrives, we figure, that the costs will start to add up. The truth is, though, that if we don’t think about the expense of having a baby right from the start, or even before conception, the costs could add up. When people talk about planning a pregnancy, they usually don’t have this in mind – but maybe they should!
Costing for your baby before you begin
You know you want to have a baby and you’re all ready to start “trying”. Whoa there! Experts recommend you consider how and where you want to have your baby even before you get pregnant. There are different “models of care” for birth in South Africa and the cost of your pregnancy will differ, depending on which you choose. Options available can vary from province to province, and between private and public health care facilities.
The cost of delivering a baby
Having a baby in a private hospital in South Africa can be a costly affair. Depending on which private hospital you choose to have your baby and the rates of your obstetrician / gynaecologist, anaesthetist and paediatrician, you can expect the final bill to be as much as R45,000. Even if you have medical aid, you may still have to fork out several thousand Rand from your own pocket.
Medical aids in South Africa do pay for childbirth delivery costs. However, your scheme may not cover the rates of private doctors/specialists, who charge significantly higher cash rates these days. While you can be assured that you and your baby will be covered for the hospital’s bills in full on your medical aid, you have to be cautious about the bills from all the doctors involved.
For more information: Childbirth delivery costs in South Africa
NOTE: Many moms don't pay a cent as they gave birth at a government hospital and many are happy with the help they receive. Don't rule out the government hospitals where you live, but always visit the facilities beforehand.
The daily cost of pregnancy
At no other time in your life will your body change as much as it does during pregnancy. It can be hard to keep up! An entire new wardrobe is necessary – and while budget-friendly maternity wear is available, it’s advisable to invest in quality basics, such as maternity jeans, maternity bras and maternity leggings. These pieces will be on high rotation during your pregnancy and you may be surprised how long you are still wearing them after the birth. Look here for more information on budgeting for your maternity wardrobe
The unexpected cost of pregnancy
While most women these days plan to stay at work right up until a few weeks before they give birth, it pays to remember that this isn’t possible for everyone. Sheer fatigue can be a factor, but so can unexpected pregnancy complications. Even morning sickness can play havoc with your wages if it’s severe, particularly if you work on a casual basis. Get your family budget in order early on, just to be on the safe side.
Then there are the little extras that you might need during your pregnancy. A high-dose vitamin supplement will cost you anything between R40-70 a month. A special pregnancy massage to lift your spirits when you’re feeling large and ungainly will cost between R200-500 a pop. You might require osteopathy or physiotherapy to keep everything in working order (check whether your medical aid covers these so you can make the most of them). Pregnancy yoga classes are a great form of exercise for moms-to-be, at around R300-500 per month on average. Of course, if you are a member of a gym you can attend these classes as part of your gym fees.
You’ll also need to put your unborn baby down on some childcare waiting lists, particularly if you live in high-demand areas. Many centres require a small fee to cover “administration costs” to put your name down, so be prepared.