Rejoicing, celebrations and indulging in shopping for everything your new bundle of joy could possibly need is how many of us like to greet a confirmed pregnancy. Until reality bites – like when the first credit-card bills arrive or the extra, regular gynae bills and scans make you gasp!
So to avoid this, make sure you timetable some extra planning to draw up and manage your baby budgeting, while still enjoying your pregnancy.
1. Creating your budget
Get to grips with your income and your unavoidable expenses (bond or rent, lights, water, car loan, credit), and the areas where you could consider cutting down (food, clothing). Online tools are available to help you organise this. FNB has one at www.fnb.co.za/calculators/budget-calculator.html or you can download Nedbank’s Personal Money Manager software.
2. Study your medical aid
Some schemes can impose up to a 12-month waiting period for maternity benefits and other costs. Similarly, if you have only a hospital plan, consider upgrading as you and your baby will need broader day-to-day cover over the next few years for paediatrician visits and general medical expenses.
You won’t pay more for medical aid during pregnancy but you’ll need to become an expert on what your medical-aid option does and doesn’t pay. Discovery Health alone offers 13 different plans, each with different cover and premiums so sit with your partner and discuss all your options before you decide.
You might want to upgrade your medical aid after analysing it. Or you could talk to an insurance broker about adding gap cover. It’s a fraction of the cost of medical aid but usually covers the big gap that can exist between what medical aid pays out, and what you’re charged. If both you and partner are on medical aid, calculate which offers best value for adding your new dependent.
3. Gynae care
Check if your medical aid has a list of approved doctors and specialists where the full rate is reimbursed and you’re not charged a co-payment. Medical aid benefits vary greatly, even within one medical scheme.
4. Getting ready for baby
Antenatal courses range from R500 – R1 500 for five to six weeks and your partner can attend on weeks one, three, and five. You’d need to check how much your option would pay. For busy moms, some clinics have two-part options after hours.
5. Kitting up
Allow R6 000 for the nursery, including cot, compactum, baby bath, baby monitor, night light and cot mobile. Pram/stroller, car seat and baby carrier will be between R6 000 and R10 000 also. Add a breast pump for between R500 and R1 500 if you’re breastfeeding or between R500 and R1 700 for a bottle-warmer and formula.
Always shop around. Baby baths range from R150 to R1 000 and a nappy bag from about R250 to R2 000. Include items such as bottles, sterilisers, dummies, bibs, facecloths, blankets, and baby clothes on a friends’ gift list to save money.
6. Ultrasound checks
Scans cost about R400 during the first trimester, rising to about R650-R750 each in the last two. These charges are doubled if you’re carrying twins. Check your own medical aid’s payment policy as costs mount fast, with many gynaes requesting scans at all or most visits. Some medical aids cover only two 2D scans and one 4D scan, making cents-strapped moms consider having just these done. “Monthly scans are best because different abnormalities become evident at different stages,” recommends Living and Loving ultrasound expert Fatima Ghani.
7. The big day
A normal birth in hospital can cost anything between R15 000 and R20 000 with C-Sections costing about R28 000.
Some medical aids will cover your hospital stay for a few nights. Payments for doctors and midwives depends on the providers you use.
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