There’s planning for a baby, and then there’s planning for a baby. Both types may require charts, or even spreadsheets, but the latter requires a finer attention to detail. It’s the details that seem inconsequential in the grand scheme of having a baby that could help you save thousands of rands.
With all the information out there, where do you start?
A BIRTHING PLAN
It’s the first step in deciding how your baby will enter this world. A birthing plan is often a written list of preferences for labour and delivery. It also considers medical requirements, like pain management, and the decisions to be made during an emergency. Sitting with your partner to talk through this list will set off a few questions that ultimately decide the costs.
WHAT DOES YOUR MEDICAL AID COVER?
If you’re covered, your medical aid should absorb most, if not all, of your essential costs. The type of medical scheme you’re on will inform your benefits and cover. Pay attention to the number of days that will be paid for, the costs for any emergency procedures, as well as the rate charged by any additional medical services, such as midwives.
If you don’t have medical aid, some service providers may provide a discount for early/full payment. It’s also suggested that taking out cover before giving birth, while not providing cover during the birthing process, should ensure that your new-born is covered should NICU services be required.
NATURAL BIRTH VS. CAESAREAN SECTION
Deciding on the type of birth you’d prefer goes a bit further than the physical implications. Often, a natural birth allows for a quicker recovery, which means less time at the hospital, and is usually cheaper when compared to a C-section. There are other options, such as home birth, which may save on hospital costs, provided that there are no complications, but it might not be fully covered by medical aid.
PRIVATE HOSPITAL OR PUBLIC?
Public hospitals might be your only choice if you’re not covered by a medical aid. They may also less likely to offer an epidural, for example, due to more limited resources. Private hospitals can be quite expensive, even with cover, so a public option would be a more affordable option. If you’re looking for care that’s more in the middle in terms of offering, or cost, there are alternatives to consider.
There are maternity hospitals that offer hospital care, but with a more comfortable environment. Often with a luxury setting, these facilities offer a range of price plans. There’s also Midwife Obstetric Units (MOUs) that are run by midwives in local communities. Usually community-orientated, these clinics offer more affordable care.
The costs of giving birth arguably extend beyond the actual birth. Once you’ve covered the bigger items, there’s still a hospital bag to pack and a baby’s room to prep. Planning out the items you’d need immediately after the baby arrives, and arranging as much as possible before the time, will take a lot of the stress out of the experience.
Having a baby will definitely impact your finances over the longer term, and there are a number of savings options to cater for this, especially the tax free ones, but when it comes to shorter term costs, speaking to a financial advisor will help in prioritizing your savings plan.