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Pre-birth expenses: Here are mine; what are yours?

Updated: Jan 9

As I noted in my last blog post on the Child Tax Credit, raising children is an expensive endeavor. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that the cost of raising just one child in America through age 17 for married, middle-class parents is $267,233. This number can be much higher depending on geography and many other factors – and it does not include college expenses. The cost of having a child is one of the primary reasons that my baby boy will be an only child.


As far as I can tell, this estimate does not take into account the substantial expenses that parents incur before the child takes its first breath. To those potential parents who factor finances into their decision to have a (or another) child, I urge you to spare a thought for these additional, pre-birth costs.


My husband and I spent at least $9825.07 before our little man was born. I know that this number represents a sample size of exactly 1, but a rough estimate for this set of expenses was more than I had when I was in the preconception and pregnancy period.


Here’s how our number breaks down:


Nursery ($959.24)

Dresser - $256.18

Art print for room - $53.85

Mural - $346.05

Glider chair - $303.16

Baby items ($451.66)

Maternity clothes - $198.77

Car seat for second car - $196.38

Car seat adapter for stroller - $56.51

Initial deposit for 529 plan - $25

Baby shower ($318.45)

Baby shower dress - $49.28

Cake - $200

Invitations - $69.17

Prenatal education ($88)

Baby 101 class from Tinyhood - $49

Online birth class from Mommy Labor Nurse - $39

Prenatal care ($7982.72)

Comprehensive Care - $1100

Ultrasounds and anatomy scan - $582.86

Emergency room co-pay - $300

Hospital visit 1 - $713.67

Hospital visit 2 (delivery, medicine, epidural, etc) - $5289.19

 

This one-of-kind mural in my son's room, painted by two local artists, cost about $350 including labor and supplies. As with most things related to children, it was expensive but totally worth it.

 

I hope that seeing my raw numbers gives others clarity on their own financial situations and helps them make decisions in their families’ best interest. However, I would like to offer some context for a few of these line items as no two parents’ expenditures are going to be the same.

  1. I was generally happy with the amount of money that our insurance company paid out. Our deductible was $1,250, and our out-of-pocket limit was $4,890. However, because I conceived in 2019 and delivered in the following year, both numbers unfortunately reset at the beginning of 2020.

  2. The first hospital visit, which cost us $713.67, was incurred when my husband and I rushed to the emergency room after I noticed some spotting during the first trimester. I learned that this type of light bleeding is rather common and not a cause for concern, but I don’t regret this expense. I thought that something had gone terribly wrong with my pregnancy.

  3. I was able to save hundreds of dollars by getting most of our baby gear secondhand from friends and colleagues including the crib and so many baby clothes that I didn’t have to buy a single outfit. If you also want to save some money on all of the baby things (which, by the way, are useful for such a brief window of time), try tapping into your network of parents who are usually all too eager to get rid of the items that are cluttering their homes. Facebook Marketplace, resale stores like Once Upon a Child, and consignment sales at churches like this one are also excellent resources.

  4. After hospital stay 2, the most expensive item for me was the $1100 I spent on Comprehensive Care. I considered spending this money on a birth doula or a postpartum doula, but those services weren’t as centered on my wellness as Tanya’s Comprehensive Care program. While I took care of my newborn baby, Tanya took care of me. She was my safety net who caught me many times when I was falling.

Yes, my pre-birth number is large - almost $10,000 - but it’s not meant to scare anyone. Instead, I hope that by being as transparent and precise as possible with my calculations, you will be inspired to get your financial house in order before your baby arrives. If you are lucky enough to have insurance, call your insurance company and have someone clearly explain to you their prenatal care benefits. Ask: What medicines, treatments, tests, and medical equipment are covered? What is my deductible? What is my out-of-pocket max? Try to save enough money to cover the cost of that final hospital bill so that when it arrives, you can just cut a check and get back to taking care of your tiny human.


Financial stability is one of the greatest gifts that a parent can give their child. For my husband and me, this stability was a prerequisite to having a baby. We saved enough money to cover all of our pre-birth expenses. So, when we were in the thick of the newborn stage and both very much adjusting to parenthood, money was one less thing that we had to worry about.


I sincerely hope your family can have some degree of financial readiness before you welcome a new life into your home. Trust me: The sacrifices to get there are worth it.


Sources and further reading:

Cost of raising a child

Spotting during pregnancy