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Pregnancy and pre-baby costs

June 7, 2018

Costs of getting pregnant:

This can be incredibly varied, both by random luck and by insurance plan.  Many women get pregnant for “free” the traditional way.  If that doesn’t work for you, costs can be moderate or they can be completely unworkable.  I ballparked US-based in-vitro fertilization at $25k+. Basic front-line fertility drugs can be as inexpensive as several hundred, or are sometimes covered by insurance.

For us, costs were limited to small non-essential costs: basal thermometer (~$10), ovulation prediction kits ($5-$30/month), prenatals, fish oil, and Coq10 supplements. I used inexpensive internet pregnancy test strips and a some more expensive “real” tests.  Much of this was covered by pre-tax FSA money that we were in danger of not spending.  This type of monitoring is not necessary if you are willing to take a more laid back approach.

Prenatal and birth medical costs:

We are lucky to have access to affordable healthcare through our jobs. Prenatal and birth costs are almost entirely covered by our insurance, which we pay about $100/mo/person for. There aren’t co-pays for appointments or labs/tests, and the (hospital) birth is $250, even if complications arise.  I’m not sure what is covered in an unlikely event of a prolonged hospital stay for an infant (e.g. NICU), but I’m also not worried about it.

Since I’m old enough, my insurance also covered a fancy genetic blood test (cfDNA / NIPT) that allowed an accurate and early screen for chromosomal disorders.  As a bonus, we found out the sex by 11 weeks! I am so amazed by modern medicine!

I’ve vaguely looked at hiring a doula to support us during our (hospital) birth, but probably won’t ($1k-$2k). I’m more interested in a postpartum doula, since we are far from family and not yet very baby-savvy.  This would make up for the general lack of postpartum care and support in the US.  I have a friend in Germany who is giving birth soon, and the standard there is for your midwife to visit you at home every 2-3 days for 2 months, fully covered by insurance. Wouldn’t that be amazing?  Purchasing postpartum doula services seems to run $25-$40/hr.  Has anyone done this, or did you just figure things out on your own / with help from family/friends?  My mom did offer to come out for 2 weeks, which will be amazing.

Non-medial costs so far:

Aside from some wasted food that sounded perfect when I bought it, I didn’t spend much money in the first trimester. I bought a body pillow to start transitioning to side sleeping, and some maternity clothes. My shirts are still fine to wear at this point, but pants not so much.  My sister-in-law was nice enough to send me some hand-me-downs, but she had gotten rid of most already, so we’ll see what works out.  She’s a lot shorter than me, but we both generally wear size small / extra small. I haven’t had time to deal with in-person thrifting yet, and have not been impressed with the pricing on online used clothes.  I’m kind of struggling with figuring out what I really need here.

Upcoming costs – prepping for the baby:

I started a list for the major baby items and have been checking Craigslist, Nextdoor, and  Facebook for second-hand items. It will take time, with the usual “Is X still available?” e-mails and hassle… but we have time for now. My main motivation in looking second hand is to reduce waste – both of my own money and of the environment! If we can’t get something second hand, we will just buy it in the end.

I don’t want a shower and don’t expect a lot of useful large gifts. I don’t want people to buy a bunch of stuff for us. It seems different when we are older with plenty of savings to cover cost. I do expect some small gifts, like clothes and books and toys, because they are fun for people to buy.

We plan some minor projects for the nursery – mostly just paint and probably another Elfa closet system since I was so thrilled with how the other one we did turned out.  We also have to get rid of some old furniture that we’ve carried from apartment to apartment to house and no longer use or need.

A second car?

Here’s a big ticket cost we are considering!  Looking at the location of our house, our jobs, and daycare options, we’re considering becoming a two car family for the first time in our 10+ years in California. This would likely be something we want even if we figure out the nanny/nanny share route – but it would be less essential.  We’ll likely look at used electric cars, which would meet a lot of our regular transit needs and be a nice balance to our larger Subaru (which was purchased with future kids in mind).  My dream electric car is the VW e-Golf, but we may settle for something a little less expensive.  (Well, a Tesla is probably a better dream car, but an e-Golf is a realistic dream.)  It probably makes sense to wait until late this year, or perhaps even after the baby comes for this purchase.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. June 7, 2018 2:47 pm

    Our midwife system means we’ll get visits at home from my midwife post-birth – I think paying for support would be well worth it if you won’t have any otherwise!

    Very cool that you were able to find out sex so early (one of my colleagues also had the same test and so found out at that point – we find out next week but don’t think we’ll tell other people. Don’t want people to buy all pink/blue crap. Unfortunately T has told his immediate family members that we will find out… and they are expecting to be told.)

    I think we will EVENTUALLY need to become a 2 car household but not just yet (although having the motorbike currently does help). It will probably be tough initially but we can make it work, but it would be once the kid is older and there are more commitments …

    • June 7, 2018 3:46 pm

      I thought finding out the sex was so much fun! We didn’t bother trying to hide it and have shared.

      I have an option of going with midwife-led care through the hospital, but it still includes pretty much no postpartum care. From what I understand, post birth home visits are nearly unheard of in the US. At least, i’ve never heard of anyone having that! It is probably a good way to spend $, but the main hurdle is interviewing and finding people to be that support.

      The fact that I need the car parked at my work in order easy get home to walk the dog at noon is a big driver in the two car conversation. (A daily dog walker is still quite $$ and has less utility.) We could also work up to leaving him home all day (the most practical thing), but we can’t give him inside/outside access, and I just don’t feel right about it overall given his energy level and need for companionship. Lots of people do it, though. A motorbike could help with a quick run home at lunch – then we’d just have to worry about rainy times.

  2. June 8, 2018 5:08 am

    I had good luck on eBay buying lots of maternity clothes—basically some women sell their entire maternity wardrobe in one sale because it is less effort. Even if you end up passing on a portion of the clothes because you don’t want them it can still work out to a reasonable price for the items you do keep.

    Post partum visits: if you hire a doula that is usually part of the package. We found it helpful for nursing with our first.

    • June 8, 2018 6:37 am

      I checked ebay once, but will give it another shot. I didn’t see my size or good prices. I just looked again, and am seeing several options, so I’ll have to give it another shot when I start really needing tops. I hate not being able to return stuff, but as you point out, it is still a decent deal if I don’t use everything!

      Yeah, ~2 visits postpartum seems to be common. But I’d rather spend all the money for post birth help. I could get several 8 hour night shift helps, plus a couple daytime shifts. Maybe I have more faith in the midwife/nurses/doctors at the hospital than I should!

      • June 8, 2018 6:52 am

        You have to look specifically for lots and be willing to not like or need some percentage of the lot.

        I also had reasonable luck with suits—though for that I set up an alert. I had a rule that I would bid $15 and no more (my kids are older so $15 is too little for today) and bought my inner seam length until I had enough to teach in for pregnancy (though in the end I could only fit into jumpers/sundresses with both), it wasn’t a check once and they have what you need now thing so much as buy when available and you will have it when you need it. This is especially true of lots which tend to cover an entire pregnancy.

        • June 8, 2018 6:57 am

          Thanks for the eBay tips! I see lots of 5-10 items mostly (sometimes ads with “lots” of 2 items!). But I will spend more time here – it seems way cheaper than ThreadUp/Poshmark. I don’t think I will need a suite, thankfully!

          • June 8, 2018 7:05 am

            I didn’t get any suits in lots—people do seem to separate those out. One nice thing with the real lots is you only need one or two if you can find someone your size with somewhat overlapping taste and seasonal appropriateness.

  3. June 11, 2018 12:11 pm

    I was going to ask if you were going to be having a baby shower at all given how far away you are from everyone. I have a couple things that might be useful for you, if you’d like them – some maternity jeans that were a bit too large for me at the time but I think you’re just a little bit bigger than I am?

    • June 11, 2018 6:23 pm

      Maybe! I’ll e-mail you! And no, I don’t expect a shower w/family, and don’t have a big enough circle locally to have one here.

  4. June 14, 2018 7:42 am

    For clothes, I’ve actually found ThredUp/Poshmark to be better for gently used maternity.

    While I’m sure this isn’t standard everywhere, my state’s Dept of Health gave the option to have at least two home visits from a nurse, which was really nice.

    If you go the two-car route, keep in mind it may be easier to have two car seat bases (if going with an infant seat at first) and convertible car seats, so that you aren’t constantly moving them. New car seats are probably the biggest unavoidable expense.

    • June 14, 2018 10:07 am

      Good to know you had a good experience with ThredUp and Poshmark. I didn’t find it particularly cheap, and returns seemed hard so I’d have to be confident in sizing.

      I am not yet convinced we’d need 2 bases – it depends on our setup and how we use the cars. But I guess we’ll deal with considering the 2nd car first 🙂

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