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4 Hidden Costs of Pregnancy and Giving Birth I’m Saving for Now


  • I never know how much pregnancy and childbirth cost until my friends started talking about it.
  • Between prenatal care, labor and delivery, postpartum healthcare, and unpaid time off work, it adds up fast.
  • Now that I know it can cost tens of thousands of dollars, I’ve already started saving money.

Over the last few years, my friends and I can’t get through a Sunday brunch, a happy hour, or even a group text conversation without hearing about how someone is trying to get pregnant, recently found out they are pregnant, or is just generally unsure about whether or not they want to have a child.

While we often talk about the stories and hearsay we’ve learned through other friends who have given birth, we also talk about how expensive the entire process is.

Not only am I considering having a child in the next few years, I’m also starting to figure out how much I should start saving for that big life change now. When I started to look into the cost of pregnancy and giving birth, I realized there are so many hidden costs I never knew about. Here are some of the main ones I’m trying to save for now.

1. Prenatal care

Once you find out you’re pregnant, you’ll have some immediate costs. First, many pregnant women are advised to take prenatal vitamins, which can range from $6 a month to $50 a month, depending on the type of vitamin you’d need (based on your diet and the extra supplements you might need to take, like added doses of iron or Vitamin D). While some health insurance plans cover this cost, not all of them will.

Plus, you’ll need to start getting care from a doctor or midwife, which will include frequent check-ups, blood tests, ultrasounds, and additional care.

According to WebMD, the average cost for prenatal care for someone who is pregnant without health insurance is around $2,000. While your health insurance might cover many of these costs if you use an in-network provider, it’s important to find out what your plan benefits are before you seek prenatal care.

2. Labor and delivery

When I imagined the cost of giving birth, I wondered if there was a flat rate that every person paid when they went to the hospital to deliver the baby. That’s absolutely not the case.

According to data collected by Fair Health, the average price of a vaginal delivery is between $5,000 and $11,000 in most states. This range includes doctor’s fees (OBGYN, anesthesiologist, etc.), hospital care fees, and more. If you have a Cesarean birth, costs can range from $7,500 to $14,500. Plus, depending on any complications that arise during birth and emergency care needed, more costs can be incurred.

Depending on your health insurance coverage, some of these fees might be fully covered, while others might not be. It’s important to ask your health insurance company for a detailed plan of what’s covered and what out of pocket expenses you might incur during the time of labor and delivery.

3. Postpartum healthcare

Just because the labor and delivery is over doesn’t mean doctor’s appointments are, too. After the baby is born, there might be several check-up appointments, tests, follow-up procedures for any pregnancy complications, management of chronic health conditions, and the need to access mental health treatment.

While these costs can vary, according to Health System Tracker, pregnant women enrolled in large employer health plans, on average, will incur an average of $2,854 of out-of-pocket expenses on top of the average $18,865 cost of health care related to pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum healthcare.

4. Unpaid time off work

One of the biggest costs that makes me nervous about giving birth is the unpaid time off work my husband and I would have to take. Right now, my husband only has a few days of paternity leave through his company and would have to take sick days or unpaid leave to help care for the baby.

As an entrepreneur and freelancer, I don’t technically have any maternity leave and would have to forgo offering services and taking on clients or projects for at least 30 days. That would cost me thousands of dollars.

Because my husband and I would have to return to work rather quickly, we’d need to invest in immediate childcare costs. According to Care.com‘s Cost of Care survey, the average cost of child care for one child in 2021 was $694 a week for a nanny, and $226 a week for a daycare center. The added monthly expense of child care is a huge financial strain and something we’d need to start saving immediately for if we plan to have kids in the near future.



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