The first trimester of pregnancy is a time of great excitement and great anxiety. You find out that you’re pregnant, get to share the news with family and friends, and start planning for how a baby will change your life.
It’s also a time of great change financially. You begin to incur many of the initial expenses of pregnancy and set up plans for dealing with future medical and baby expenses.
While many couples already have general savings or a baby-specific fund in place before their first child, pregnancy can also come as a surprise.
What almost certainly comes as a surprise are the various expenses associated with pregnancy and birth. While most people have a general understanding that having a baby is not cheap, they don’t get into the specifics – after all, until you have a baby, it doesn’t really affect you.
Once you know you’re pregnant, becoming as informed as possible is priority number one.
Conveniently, pregnancy is neatly divided into three trimesters, each consisting of approximately 14 weeks. And with each passing trimester, we’ll explore the various expenses that come up in our own pregnancy and what you can expect.
So – enough talking, let’s actually see what’s getting spent in the first three months:
- Pre-Natal Vitamins. Doctors insist this is one of the most important first steps an expectant mother can take, particularly in the first month or two of pregnancy, as the primary elements and organs of the fetus are being formed. If you have insurance, prescription pre-natals will usually fall in the most expensive prescription category (premium drugs). For us, that was about $50/month.
- Doctor’s Visits, Tests, and Ultrasounds. Pre-natal care can be handled either through a lump sum doctor’s fee or a on a per-visit basis. Either way, costs can easily run into thousands of dollars before the baby is even born. If you have insurance, check with the company to verify the maximum you’ll be required to pay out of pocket.
- Down Payments. The majority of doctors will require a full or partial down payment of your insurance deductible (or total delivery costs, if uninsured) prior to delivery. A payment plan can usually be set up so you can pay monthly. Our doctor checked the deductible and worked the monthly cost into our regular visit payments.
- Parental Education. Thankfully, this is a scalable cost, and you can easily learn a great deal about pregnancy and what to expect through the Web (sites like BabyCenter and WebMD are great) and at your local library. Structured parental education is still a few trimesters away…
- Nausea Prevention. I’m sure you’ve heard of morning sickness, and I can assure you – it’s real. The effects of nausea vary, but if it impedes your ability to take in nutrients, your doctor may suggest over-the-counter or prescription medication to counteract that up-chuck feeling. The over-the-counter we purchased ran no more than $10.
- Increased Food Costs. During the first three months, women are not yet eating a whole lot more than usual. However, you may notice an increased desire to take care of what you put in your mouth, which can translate to higher grocery costs as you opt for whole foods or organic varieties.
- Maternity Clothing. Although it’s early in the pregnancy to be purchasing maternity wear, some forms of clothing, like long “froofy” dresses (give me a break, like I know the terms!), are universally adaptable to the size of the growing belly. It may be a good time to take advantage of sales if any come along. Five quality dresses for my wife that she can use for all nine months cost us no more than $35.
- Preparing for Birth & First Year Costs. The first trimester is not too early to start financially preparing for birth and beyond. Working in monthly deductible payments will go a long way to shaving off the shock of the hospital bill, but consider stay-at-home time after birth and all of your initial baby costs. More on those in months to come…For now, just start saving – you’ll need it.
Just being aware that these costs are coming and adequately preparing your “Baby Fund” to take the hit can relieve a lot of the financial stress of pregnancy and let you focus on the important stuff – the start of a new family.