The costs of having a baby are staggering. In 2010, Pregnancy Today puts the total cost at around $10,000 to $12,000 for a vaginal birth and $15,000 to $20,000 if you require a C-section. Fortunately, if you aren’t financially prepared to have a baby, there are resources that you can turn to for help.
Health care costs represent the bulk of the expense of having a baby. You must attend regular prenatal checkups, undergo routine testing to make sure your baby is doing well and have the delivery itself. If you are low-income, you may qualify for state-sponsored health insurance under Medicaid. If you make too much to qualify for this help, but still don’t have insurance, talk to local insurance providers. Some are willing to offer reduced rates when you pay them directly and can offer a payment plan. A birthing center or midwife can also be an affordable option if you expect an uncomplicated birth.
You need good nutrition to support your growing baby. If you can’t afford food, check out the government’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which offers money to buy food staples. You can also check out local food banks for free food.
All the little things — baby clothes, diapers, cribs and toys — really start to add up. Purchase these items second-hand and you’ll save a ton. You may also be able to find local charities that give away free clothes and toys. Often, just putting the word out to the “mommy network” — anyone you know who has children — can help put you in touch with moms who are willing to donate some things their children have outgrown.
The Adoption Option
If you’re not ready to have a baby, adoption may be the right choice. In many cases, the adoption agency or adoptive parents will cover your medical costs.
In a best-case scenario, both parents are eagerly anticipating the arrival of their little one. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to step up to the plate. The baby’s father has a legal responsibility to help pay for the cost of the baby. If the father of your baby is reluctant to do so, you may have to take him to court. Talk to a lawyer who specializes in child support about how to get the money you need for your child.