Understanding the cost of pregnancy

       

Elizabeth Wilkins

While some are planning for pregnancy, for many it's a wonderful surprise. This emotionally, mentally and physically life-changing experience is one that will also significantly impact your finances. Women who have been there before are understanding and aware that the true cost of pregnancy begins far before the baby arrives. It isn't always a cost that has been budgeted for, but luckily there are options available which don't always include credit (such as short term loans), which are a great way to cross a few items off your list until payday comes around. If you're wondering what costs pregnancy could possibly incur, we will cover some of the most popular in this guide, as well as things you can do to cut costs.

Pregnancy vitamins

When you find out that you're pregnant, vitamins will be one of the first things on your to-buy-list. Although a healthy diet will arm you with most of the vitamins and minerals you need, there are certain supplements that are essential like folic acid and vitamin D. They are a vital part of pregnancy to ensure you and your baby get all of the extra nutrients you need. Long story short, there really is no way to escape this expense. In regards to prices, you can either get store brand or name brand vitamins. Over the course of 9/10 months, this cost can add up depending on what brand you decide to go with. You may be eligible for free vitamins through the various government run schemes so it is worth checking with your GP and / or midwife to see if you qualify. If you have to purchase them yourself, the cheaper option is to go with the store brands. These can start from around £3.30 while more expensive brands can cost up to £16 per pack. Each pack could last a month or two but the quantity of each pack varies.

Diet

When you become pregnant, one of the most important things you'll continuously hear about is healthy eating and balanced diets. Healthy eating isn't always the cheapest, so this means it might cost more than your usual supermarket shop to keep a balanced, nutritionally rich diet. It's recommended to have at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, as well as food rich in protein, iron and calcium. It is also common that your appetite and cravings may also dramatically increase.


Healthy diet

When you're pregnant, vouchers, coupons and special discounts on food should be your best friend. There are tons of websites you can grab them from online and you can also check your local newspapers as well. Other ways to find them are free in-store magazines and customer feedback surveys. Also consider growing your own vegetables if you have the space at home in your garden.

Trips to the dentist

During pregnancy you become more vulnerable to gum diseases such as gingivitis. In addition to this, you may find that your mouth has become drier and your gums are more sensitive. To prevent this, a trip to the dentist might be a good idea. If you qualify for NHS treatment then trips to the dentist are free for routine procedures whilst you are pregnant. If not, private dental treatment can cost a lot more. A deep clean with the hygienist for example, will cost anywhere from £40 depending on which dentist you go to. Outside the NHS you can find deals online which offer discounts for teeth cleaning. If you don't have any urgent dental issues such as cavities or root canals which could be harmful to your pregnancy, just ensure you have a soft bristled toothbrush and lots of dental floss at home.

Nursery items

  • Crib
  • Moses basket
  • Fitted cot sheets
  • Baby sleeping bags
  • Room thermometer
  • Baby monitor
  • Night light

In the first few months of your baby's life there are a few items that he or she will need and they are best to get while you're pregnant. If you haven't already received some items as gifts or hand-me-downs, then you're going to need to go out and get them yourself. The bullets cover some of the items you will need. Some people are extremely particular about the items their little bundle of joy will use, however if you aren't, you may want to consider getting some of items for the nursery second hand. You would be surprised at how many of your friends have barely used Moses baskets or cots just waiting for you to use. The same goes for clothes, toys and other items. You could also go to a second-hand shop, or ask family members who have relatively young children if they have any used nursery items they can donate. Remember to avoid loose blankets, pillows and quilts within your babies sleeping space as soft bedding can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Remember what goes around comes around and when you've finished with a baby item maybe consider passing it on to another expectant mother!

Maternity clothes

It is no surprise that as the life inside of you begins to grow, your frame might expand to accommodate. It's interesting to note that this isn't just the baby growing but all the supporting framework plus the inevitable water retention associated with pregnancy. All of this means your existing wardrobe is probably not going to be an option after the first few months of pregnancy. Comfort is of paramount importance during pregnancy so investing in a few maternity items is a good place to start. Some of these clothing items include trousers, skirts, leggings, jeans, as well as dresses and tops. A top tip is to hunt for discounts on maternity clothes as well as special sales in some of your local shops. Another way to ensure you don't overspend is to not go overboard on the spending as you most likely won't be wearing them after the baby has arrived. You could also try a waistband extender for your jeans, stick to wearing loose-fitted clothes if you have any or find a trendy way to make use of your partner's over-sized shirts.



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Sleeping aids

It is well documented that carrying a child to term is beset with various aches and pains. From morning sickness, to body aches, to kicking babies, to sleepless nights and heat flashes - it can certainly be a challenge. On that note, you may want to invest in a little sleeping kit which includes comfy sleeping pillows for pregnant women. The price of these pillows can range from £6-£47 depending on where you buy them from. Some other items to add to the list are a fan to keep cool, eye masks and earplugs. All of this should help you grab some quality sleep. You could always use the pillows you have at home and put them in-between your legs as you sleep if a pregnancy pillow isn't a necessity for you. If you would rather buy a pillow, try buying them online or perhaps consider a local baby clothes exchange for a second-hand option.

Private scan

One of the most exciting parts of pregnancy is getting to see your little one floating around in your belly. The NHS usually offer two scans at 12 weeks and 20 weeks for an average healthy pregnancy. If you want another scan, you can always take the private option. Scan prices usually range from £39 and upwards depending on the nature of the scan. You could also get a 3D scans which give you an up-close and personal view of your baby and they can cost from anywhere around £200. Note that some NHS trusts ask for a donation if they print off the scan picture for you to takeaway.

Baby shower

Admittedly a U.S. concept but gaining popularity over here. Whether a baby shower will cost you money or not is totally dependent on who is organising it. If you're organising, it's going to cost you money as you're most likely going to pay out of your pocket. The primary costs would most likely be the venue, food, drinks and items for those fun baby shower games. The good news is, even if it does cost you money, it will probably be worthwhile considering the number of baby gifts you're likely to get. You will save a lot of money on buying things like nappies, baby clothes and bottles depending on what your guests bring. To ensure you don't end up with two of everything, a gift list might work well. On the other hand, if it's a surprise shower or being organised by friends, you probably will end up paying nothing as the people organising will put the cost on their bill. This works as a double blessing as you get a free shower and loads of gifts - hurrah!


Baby shower

Hospital bag

The notorious hospital bag is one that you're going to need to organise way before your due date. It is going to include all kinds of exciting (and maybe not so exciting) things that you'll need right before, during and after labour. There are loads of good lists on websites such as this NHS website out there. However, some common items include a comfy night gown, your own pillow and towels, clothes for your newborn and slippers! It may not be necessary to buy brand new things in your bag especially when it comes to things like towels for obvious reasons.

First time home

You're going to want to buy a few items for the first six weeks before you give birth as finding time to run to the shop once baby makes his/her grand entrance may be near impossible. There are a couple of key things you will need and it could be an idea to buy these at least a few weeks' worth.

In the first few weeks, all your baby will do is eat and sleep. For both breastfeeding and formula feeding mothers, you'll need bottles, bottle cleaning brushes and sterilising equipment.

Did we mention that in the first few weeks, the little one will be discovering their bowels a fair bit? Your newborn will be going through 10-12 nappies a day in the first few weeks, so if you haven't already stocked up from your baby shower and gifts, ensure you've bought enough.

It is important both nursing mothers and partners stay energized and well-nourished to cope with the demands of a new born. Cooking in those first few weeks is not really an option so make sure the fridge and freezer are stocked with fast prep food or frozen dinners and lunches.

Conclusion

Pregnancy is a journey that is sometimes better experienced than explained, however with a little planning your can minimise the suprises along the way. That is not to say that pregnancy doesn't come with financial implications. You, however, have several options to help you get through financially which include cutting down on spending, purchasing wisely and putting aside some of your income. If there is a cash crunch at this crucial time there are emergency options available such as short term loans to help you buy the really pressing items as quickly as possible. Whatever the case, try your best to be as well-prepared as possible to ensure a smooth pregnancy and an even smoother transition into motherhood.

If you're pregnant or have been pregnant before, what did you find you spent the most on during your pregnancy? Let us know on our social media pages. Share this post with a friend who is pregnant or plans on being so soon so that they know the costs and how to plan ahead!