The hidden costs of having a baby (when you're not a royal)


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All eyes are on the royals as the world awaits news of the birth of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's first child. But, away from Windsor Castle, just how much does it cost to have a baby?

Quantifying how much having a baby costs can be a mind-blowing exercise.

For first-time, expectant parents, the cost of private health insurance is perhaps one of the big-ticket items to carefully consider right off the bat.

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Questions to think about include which policy should be taken out and when? Most insurers require a 12-month waiting period before pregnancy-related claims kick in.

There's also a question if a family cover is more economical than taking out a single cover for the mother?

One friend who took out a single cover for herself and the baby said there wasn't a great deal of price difference to a cover for couples.

Both the private versus a public hospital experience each have merit.

Friends who have children, and experienced both systems, say the public system was an equally worthwhile exercise - albeit less expensive.

One advantage of going private is choosing your own obstetrician, while in the public system midwives are there every step of the way.

Obstetricians can charge about $3000 for pregnancy management services, plus additional fees for each visit. Ironically, many obstetricians are a no-show come delivery time. While they try their best to make it in time to deliver the baby, several mothers I have spoken to had nurses or midwives usher their baby into the world.

The next items to budget for include the physical items such as cribs, car seats, changing tables, wardrobes and so on. But some costs go under the radar and are more difficult to budget for.

Pre-natal vitamins, which doctors highly recommend women take pre- and post-pregnancy, can cost as much as $65 for a pack that lasts 100 days.

The need for maternity clothes for the expanding waistline is a great excuse to go shopping (Meghan Markle's pregnancy wardrobe is rumoured to have cost more than $800,000).

An interesting unforeseen cost is the money spent on 'eating for two.' Expectant mothers need to eat frequently throughout the day. This not only entails raiding the fridge, it involves making spontaneous dashes to the nearest take-way joint and putting Uber Eats on speed dial.

University of New South Wales shows the estimated costs of raising children in Australia have risen substantially over a 20-year period. Lower-income families spend $280 per week to raise two children.

It's understandable why some people don't think they are ready to have children unless they feel financially secure. Doting parents say it's worth every cent.

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Karren Vergara is a financial journalist with Financial Standard, covering wealth management, including superannuation, banking and financial planning. Prior to becoming a journalist, she was an accountant for more 10 years. She has a diploma in journalism and Bachelor's degree in business, both from UTS.
May 2, 2019 6.10pm

lol yes that is true. i dont live in a first world country and still the bills are hight and more hight every month. my son in only 5 month and every day something new comes up to pay

May 2, 2019 10.40pm

i live in greece man ;)

Amy Helen
May 4, 2019 3.26pm

I'd say $3000 is very conservative for private obstetrician fees. I had top cover but used the public system, because the out of pocket fees would have come to around $10,000.

As my doctor advised, pre-natal vitamins need not be the expensive ones labelled as a pregnancy multivitamin. You can just take folate supplements on their own, plus any others your doctor recommends.

I bought hardly any pregnancy clothes - about six pieces for pregnancy and breastfeeding, and the rest were clothes from my existing wardrobe. All you need is one pair of maternity pants for work and a couple of tops for breastfeeding (if that's what you choose) later on.

Please check your facts in regard to 'eating for two'. This information is completely outdated. Pregnant women shouldn't eat for two at any point in their pregnancy. The extra amount of calories and vitamins/minerals you need to consume are minimal if you want a healthy pregnancy. Eating for two often leads to obesity and an unhealthy pregnancy. And not all women have pregnancy cravings and need to call Uber Eats - I had almost none, except for oranges!

Money, I'm a subscriber, but am quite disappointed with this article. It missed quite a lot of important expenses, such as supermarket/pharmacy items (e.g. nappies, wipes, baby vitamins, breastfeeding and pumping paraphernalia) and the cost of lost income when on maternity/paternity leave, not to mention superannuation contribution losses. I know you can do better.

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