by Christy Bieber | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on Sept. 1, 2019
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Having a baby can be extremely expensive. Here are some tips on how to keep costs down.
When you get pregnant, it's important to start preparing for the costs associated with a new baby right away. This means figuring out issues such as how you'll pay for maternity leave, and setting a budget so you don't end up in credit card debt due to your new bundle of joy.
It can also mean looking for ways to keep costs down. Raising children can be very expensive, so it's smart to be judicious about how you use your cash. Fortunately, there are some effective ways you can save. In fact, here are four possible options for cutting costs so you can make having a baby as affordable as possible.
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Pregnancy can mean many visits to the doctor. It may also mean paying for expensive lab testing, a costly birth, and all the care a newborn needs, including routine visits to his or her pediatrician, as well as vaccinations.
You need to make sure your insurance coverage is as comprehensive as possible, and that it covers as many of these essential pregnancy and baby expenses as it can. Although maternity care is considered an essential benefit that all insurers are expected to offer, coverage can vary greatly from one policy to the next.
If you are thinking about getting pregnant, compare all your options during open enrollment. Look for a policy with a wide network of caregivers for you and your baby, and be willing to pay higher premiums for lower copays and coinsurance costs. You can always downgrade your policy again during the next open enrollment period after your baby is born, but it's not a good idea to skimp on coverage when you're expanding your family.
If you have a normal, low-risk pregnancy, using a midwife can be a major cost saver. With the more patient-centered care midwives tend to provide, you may be given more control over the kinds of prenatal care you want, and could turn down some costly tests most doctors carry out as standard protocol.
Studies have also shown that births attended by midwives tend to result in less medical intervention and lower C-section rates -- which, in addition to the health benefits, can help you to avoid spending money on expensive procedures.
And, with a midwife, you could opt to give birth in a birthing center, or even at home, which could be much cheaper than paying coinsurance costs for hospitals.
This isn't the right approach for everyone, especially those with higher-risk pregnancies who may need an OB-GYN and hospital birth. However, for some families, it is certainly worth considering.
Maternity clothes are worn only for a short time, so there's no need to go crazy and set a big clothing budget, or buy a bunch of fancy gear.
Consider hitting up consignment and thrift stores to find bargains on the outfits you'll need throughout your pregnancy. You can save a fortune compared to buying new, and most clothes you'll find are hardly worn because maternity clothes are only needed for a few months.
It can be tempting to buy every gadget out there that's marketed to new parents. And decorating a fancy nursery with all the cutest baby gear might seem like a lot of fun in the time leading up to your baby's birth.
But the reality is that you may not need a ton of high-tech items to keep your little one happy -- and you don't know what your baby will like or use until he or she is born.
Get the basics, including someplace for your baby to sleep, some diapers, and a few outfits, and then wait to see what size your baby is, and what you'll actually use before you spend a fortune.
It's also worth talking to parents you know who have had babies recently to see which purchases paid off, and which ended up gathering dust.
These four simple tips should hopefully help you to make sure your pregnancy is as affordable as possible. By keeping healthcare costs to a minimum and avoiding splurges, you can hopefully build a nest egg to handle costs that arise after your new son or daughter makes his or her entrance into the world.
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