How much does pregnancy and birth cost?

If you’re wondering how much you’ll need to fork out in the process of making a child, you’ve come to the right place. The answer is $2,398.78. Just kidding. There’s no definite answer. Pregnancy costs can vary a lot. How much you’ll end up out-of-pocket depends on a variety of variables and decisions you’ll make. Think of it like a choose-your-own adventure. Except every ending is you cuddling a gorgeous baby. Naw!

Your personal preferences and what you have access to in your area will play into your pregnancy and birth journey. By making some decisions early on about your care, you can start to budget for your birth. 

Let’s have a look at some of the factors that will affect how much it might cost for you.

Private vs. public costs

Despite Australia’s Medicare system covering many of the costs of public maternity care (we are truly lucky in this country), you’ll probably still have a few out-of-pocket expenses from ultrasounds and specialist fees. According to studies, birthing through the public system could cost you up to $1,500 in total.

Alternatively, private maternity care could cost anywhere from $2,500 up to $20,000. That’s a huge range, yes, because specialist fees can vary significantly.

Weigh up the pros and cons of public and private maternity care, and research what’s available in your area. You may be able to ask friends, family and your GP for advice.

Care provider costs

Beyond where you’ll give birth, you’ll need to decide what sort of care team you want to work with. There are lots of options within Australia (about 10, actually). 

Costs relating to your pregnancy care could include:

  • Obstetrician or midwife fees: There aren’t generally fees for your prenatal checkups if you birth through the public system. But while private healthcare may cover part of your fees, you’ll be out-of-pocket if you choose a private provider, whether you opt for midwife-led care or medical-led care.

  • Scans: There will probably be some fees involved in getting your pregnancy ultrasounds. Medicare may cover part of the cost, but out-of-pocket expenses can range from around $189 to $255 per ultrasound. You can always ask about bulk-billing at your ultrasound clinic. On top of your regular fetal development scans, you can choose to have a non-invasive prenatal ultrasound (also known as the Harmony Test) at around 12 weeks to test for fetal abnormalities. This one is optional, but is more expensive at around $395 to $695.

  • Physio: We can’t sing the praises of a women’s health physio enough! A physio can help you strengthen your pelvic floor, practice birthing techniques and continue exercising safely during pregnancy (if you want to). You don’t need to see a physio, but if you do you may need to pay for your appointments yourself unless your private health insurance covers them.

  • Antenatal classes: Whether you attend prenatal yoga classes to help you chill out and relieve pain, or you drag your partner along to a birth class (which is a very good idea), there may be some other appointment costs while you’re pregnant. These are often well worth the investment to help you prepare for labour pain.

Supplements and nutrition

Often an overlooked pregnancy expense, there’s the cost of prenatal vitamins and all the supplements pregnant women are encouraged to take. You may find your monthly pharmacy bill giving you a slight panic attack. 

Common supplements that doctors may recommend taking during pregnancy include:

  • Folic acid
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Pregnancy multivitamins (which may contain some of the above).

If you’re taking other medications as well, it can all add up!

Discuss with your care team what supplements are suitable for your pregnancy. And, you can ask your pharmacist if there are any generic brand alternatives that may be cheaper. 

Maternity clothes

Buying fresh outfits can seem a bit boujee, but there’s no getting around the fact that your body will change significantly as your pregnancy progresses. You might be able to get away with your normal pants with the button undone at first, and then an assortment of sack dresses as your bump grows, but at some point you’ll probably want a pair of pants that don’t squish your belly.

Investing in some maternity clothing is important for your comfort, but it can do wonders for your self-esteem too. A few flattering pieces that either hide or show off your gorgeous bump (as per your preference) may make you feel a million bucks. And believe me, not much else will in the later stages of pregnancy.

Many maternity pieces double up as nursing clothing too, featuring cheeky boob trapdoors. Try to select pieces that will last into motherhood (and maybe even hang around for future pregnancies!).

Taking time to sit down and work out your pregnancy and birth costs may help you create a more holistic baby budget in the lead-up to parenthood. Hopefully, we’ve given you a starting point for how to do that. And if the expenses are starting to stress you out, check out our fave ways to save money with a baby.

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