What to Financially Expect When You’re Expecting

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When a baby’s on the way, parents plan for perfect. You scour the web for the ideal nursery theme, study baby names like it’s your job, and read every book promising to tell you the magical words and actions for raising a genius.

At the end of the day, though, all you really want is a baby who’s happy and healthy. That is enough.

For the second article in our series on bringing home baby without breaking the bank (read Part 1), let’s talk about the financial expectations of having a healthy little one.

Know Your Plan

From prenatal care to delivery and beyond, the complex medical costs of pregnancy can get pretty confusing. If you have health insurance that covers these costs, it’s certainly a blessing, but you’ve got to know your plan if you want to be prepared.

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Review your coverage or speak with your provider to get details on the following:

  • Co-pay amount for doctor visits
  • Deductible required before co-insurance kicks in
  • Percentage of co-insurance coverage
  • Your maximum out-of-pocket for the year
  • Any additional costs incurred by going out of network

Below, we’ll break down the different services for which you’ll be billed. We’ll also provide estimated costs for each item, but always keep in mind one simple detail: everyone’s situation is different.

Our research proves that costs vary greatly depending on your choice of doctor or midwife, hospital or birthing center, health insurance coverage and even your state of residence. That means you’ll need to speak with your doctor’s office, hospital and insurance provider to fully understand your financial obligations during prenatal care, delivery and your stay at the hospital.

Prenatal Care

The largest cost in prenatal care comes from doctor visits. Traditionally, pregnant women will see their doctor or midwife once a month during the first two trimesters, twice a month beginning in the third trimester and once per week in the final month. For 14 visits, the total cost equals roughly $2,000, on average, before insurance. 

In addition to the cost of those visits, you may receive a separate bill each time an ultrasound or lab work is done. Ultrasounds cost, on average, about $200 each before insurance, while lab work can run up to $1,000 depending on how many tests you choose to undergo.

Prenatal vitamins are vital to the health of your growing baby and, fortunately, won’t set you back too much. Over-the-counter vitamins average $15 for a month-long supply. If you choose prescription vitamins, you’ll simply owe the co-pay associated with your insurance. You can also ask your doctor for sample-sized boxes of vitamins, which may get you through to your next appointment.

Delivery and Hospital Stay

Once you make it through all of your check-ups, there’s only one thing left to do: bring your sweet baby into the world. Before introductions can be made, however, you’ve got a few additional expenses to cover.

A regular delivery with no complications costs $7,737 on average, with some insurance plans covering all but $500 of that fee. Cesarean sections, on the other hand, cost nearly $11,000 on average, resulting in a higher out-of-pocket fee. Remember that like all of the other estimates we’ve listed, you’ll need to check with your doctor and insurance provider to confirm your actual costs.

Your hospital stay and meals for the mother will cost at least $300 per day, with families staying anywhere from one to four days depending on delivery method. Of course, if complications occur, you may end up staying longer.

Other incidental costs such as induction, prolonged anesthesia or excessive monitoring may be added onto your bill as well. Be sure to ask about these costs ahead of time if you’re unsure about what’s covered by the bulk delivery fee. 

Proceed With Confidence

As soon as you’ve stopped frantically adding these numbers up in your head, let us offer a word of encouragement. It’s going to be okay. Yes, having a baby can be costly, but you’ve got knowledge on your side!

Now you can go to your doctor, insurance provider and hospital with confidence. Ask tough questions and write down the answers. Shop around if needed and negotiate where possible. Start saving now, and you’ll set yourself up for a peaceful time of cuddling with your newborn and showing off his or her uber cuteness to all of your family and friends.

Next up in our three-part series: how to set up your baby’s financial future.

What words of wisdom do you have to share with parents-to-be in this situation? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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