Research

The Cost of Being Pregnant—And Where To Get Financial Support

CostOfPregnancy

It’s no surprise that raising a child can be expensive. A recent estimate puts the price tag $245,340. But what may be surprising is the financial cost women incur even before the baby is born, during pregnancy.

To have a healthy pregnancy, it is important to anticipate these costs, and learn where to go for financial help if needed.

Initial Medical Costs

Regular pre-natal doctor visits are essential for the wellbeing of you and your baby. Your doctor is likely to prescribe a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid, which gives your body the additional nutrients necessary to help the baby develop normally, and that can help prevent birth defects. Your doctor may give additional prescriptions if you are anemic or have other health conditions to be addressed.

During the pregnancy, you will likely have certain screenings and tests to ensure the pregnancy is progressing as it should, without taking too great a toll on your own health. If you have complications during the pregnancy, or a pre-existing health issue, your doctor may require additional testing to monitor the situation.

WebMD, a health news site, estimates the cost of prenatal care in an uncomplicated pregnancy to range from $0 – $2000, and the cost of prenatal vitamins as $15 per month.

Where to get financial help: You may be eligible for help through Medicaid, a governmental program for low-income individuals.

Maternity Clothes

Some women make it through their pregnancy wearing loose shirts and drawstring pants to accommodate the baby bump, but others may need traditional maternity clothes. If you are working through the pregnancy, your needs will be determined by your work dress code.

Many women get through the pregnancy without spending much on clothes by combing through their own wardrobe for comfortable clothes, borrowing from friends and family, and looking for good finds, including sale items in the men’s department or clothes from local thrift or resale shops.

Food

It’s not fair that healthy food is often more expensive than junk food. Making nutritious choices for meals gives your baby the best chance for a great start in life, but when you’re on a tight budget, it may be difficult to balance to maintain. Consider preparing foods yourself, instead of eating out. Enjoy frozen fruits and vegetables, which have similar nutritional value as fresh produce, but are often less expensive. Build meals around beans, which are inexpensive and great forms of protein. Shop sale items, especially for lean meats. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Choose My Plate offers more tips on healthy eating, at low cost.

Where to get help: If you need food, contact the USDA National Clearinghouse or call the USDA National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE. Over 80 sites in the Raleigh area collaborate with the clearinghouse to provide food for the hungry.

Another program in North Carolina, known as Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides healthy foods for pregnant women who live in the state. Click on the WIC website or call the Department of Health and Human Services’ Customer Service Center at 1-800-662-7030 (TTY: 1-877-452-2514).

Labor and Delivery

Hospital labor and delivery costs can range from no charge to $30,000 for a vaginal delivery to $50,000 for a C-section. Some insurances may cover some or all of the cost, but the remaining portion can still be huge. If you or the baby has a complication, the costs will only increase.

But this is not a category to bargain hunt. Taking good care of yourself and the baby during pregnancy is a good way to decrease your risk of a complicated delivery.

Where to get financial help: You may be eligible for help through Medicaid, a governmental program for low-income applicants.

Emergency Savings for Recovery

After delivery, your body needs time to physically recover. Doctors typically suggest taking six weeks of medical leave, although some studies say the body needs a full year. If you have worked through the pregnancy, your recovery time may or may not be covered by sick days or vacation. Be sure to anticipate this loss of income by saving in advance.

Having a baby is a significant financial responsibility—one that starts even before the baby is born. If finances are a consideration, explore the resources mentioned above for help.

If you are considering placing your child for adoption, keep in mind that many of the pregnancy costs may be taken care of by the adoptive family. For more information on that possibility, please contact A Child’s Hope, 1-877-890-4673, where our compassionate counselors can provide information as you explore your options.

The Benefits of Open Adoption

OpenAdoptionThirty years ago, when a woman had an unplanned pregnancy, she often was sent to a convent or a maternity home until the baby was born. Afterward, her family and friends did not discuss that she ever gave birth. With the typical closed or confidential adoption, she had no contact with the child after it was adopted. On the other side, many adoptive parents never told their children they were adopted.

But times have changed, with a welcome trend toward openness and acceptance about adoption. Now, birthmothers attend school until their due date; continue working; name their babies; and are able to spend time with their babies at the hospital. Their friends, co-workers and relatives know about the pregnancy and the adoption plan. Adoptive parents know the birth parents and may treat them as extended family. One study shows that 95% of today’s adoptions are open, at least to some degree.

However, when I sit with prospective adoptive parents to talk about adoption, there is still a learning curve about openness in adoption. Here are some details about open adoption that may help.

What are Open Adoptions?

When you agree to an open adoption, it means that you as a birth parent can have some type of contact with the adoptive parent and adopted child. That may be indirectly, through letters and photos, or more directly, through phone calls and visits. In many cases, the birth mother can help select the adoptive families and that the child grows up aware he or she is adopted. The amount of contact depends on everyone’s level of comfort—it may be in the form of an occasional letter, or it may be sharing holidays together. With open adoption, the adoptive parents retain their legal rights and responsibilities for raising the child, but the birth parent has an opportunity to be involved in the child’s life.

Birth and adoptive parents can decide on varying degrees of openness. For example, a birth mother may want to select the family, but not maintain contact later. In an open adoption, she may want to be able to have direct contact with the child and adoptive family, but in a semi-open adoption, she may prefer to communicate through a lawyer or social worker. With agreement, the amount and frequency of contact may also change over time.

Advantages of Open Adoptions

Numerous studies and stories have shown how closed adoptions affect everyone involved. The birth parents often feel a life-long sense of grief and loss, with no opportunity to see the child. Adoptive parents may have questions about the child’s background that can never be answered, since no communication with the birth parents is allowed. The adoptive children may be the ones who have the most difficulty, because they cannot access their history, have no sense of connection with their birth family and may often wonder what circumstances of their birth led to the secret of adoption.

In contrast, research reported by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute says that birth mothers in open adoptions have less worry and grief than those in closed adoptions, and are better able to adjust after the adoption. Adoptive parents also have positive experiences, and that the openness actually reduced fears of losing their child to the birth parents. Adopted teens said that open adoptions allowed them to understand why they were placed for adoption, helped increase positive feelings for the birth mother and enabled the teens to better understand who they were, in connection to their birth and adoptive families.

Could An Open Adoption Be Right For You?

The Child Welfare Information Gateway, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, suggests asking these questions:

  • Do I want to have a say in who will raise my child?
  • Does it matter to me if I won’t know if my child is safe and healthy?
  • Do I want to watch my child grow up through photos, letters, phone calls or visits?
  • Do I want to be able to tell my child about his or her family background or other important information in the future?
  • Do I want my child to know, for example, if he or she looks or acts like someone else in the family?

A yes to any of these questions may mean open adoption is a good option. Remember: to be effective, an open adoption requires ongoing trust, communication and flexibility on all sides.

If you’d like to learn more about adoption—open, closed, or have other questions, please call A Child’s Hope today at 877-890-4673 or text “Pregnant” to 919-971-4396. Our experienced, compassionate counselors can provide the information you need to make the best decision for you and your child.

Birthmother Hotline: (877) 890-4673

Se Habla Español: 1 (866) 805-2323 (BEBE)

Text: Pregnant to (919) 971-4396