Are you ready financially?
There's no getting around it—having a baby can be expensive! Before you get pregnant is the time to figure out your money situation and think about how you’ll handle adding a baby to your family finances. Here are some things to do and think about to make sure your wallet is ready for your baby.
What’s the best way to budget for your baby?
Here’s a pretty simple way to check on your monthly expenses:
- Make a list of all of your monthly expenses, including what you spend on your mortgage or rent, food, clothes, entertainment, transportation, health insurance and other things you regularly spend money on.
- Add up the numbers to find out how much you spend each month.
- Subtract this number from the amount of money you make each month. How much is left over? Is any left over?
Hopefully, you bring in more money than you spend each month. But you may find that you need to cut down on your expenses and start saving money to help pay for your baby.
If you're going to stop working after your baby’s birth, now's a good time to start practicing living on less money. The same goes if you're planning to take unpaid maternity leave, even for a short time. Maternity leave is time off from work when you have a baby. If you work, ask your human resources representative what kind of maternity leave your employer has.
What kinds of things do you need to buy for your baby?
Shopping for your baby can be fun. Like lots of parents, you want the best of everything for your little one. But this doesn’t mean you have to break the bank.
Here are some ways to get the best for your baby without spending too much money:
- Think about what baby things need to be brand new. You may decide to buy a new car seat or a crib and borrow other things from friends or family.
- Look for sales, especially on the internet. Many pregnancy and baby sites have great deals on baby things.
- If you borrow or buy things used, make sure they meet current safety standards.
What do you need to know about health insurance?
Health insurance (also called health coverage or health plan) helps you pay for medical care. The Affordable Care Act (also called the ACA or Obamacare) makes new rules for the kinds of health care services that a health plan offers and what you have to pay for these services. Some may be important to you if you’re thinking about getting pregnant.
For example, the ACA says that health plans have to cover certain services for pregnant women, including prenatal care visits, labor and delivery services and breastfeeding help. So if you’re thinking about getting pregnant, here are some things to think about when choosing a health care plan:
- Does the plan cover a preconception visit with your health care provider? This is a medical checkup you get before pregnancy to make sure you’re healthy.
- What does the plan cover for prenatal care, labor and birth and hospital care for your baby? The ACA says that plans can’t refuse to cover these services, but there may be limits on certain tests, services and which providers or hospitals are covered.
- What can you expect your out-of-pocket expenses to be for pregnancy, labor and birth?
- If you already have a health care provider, is he part of the plan’s provider network?
For more information about health insurance, the ACA and choosing the health plan that’s right for you, visit: healthcare.gov.
What do you need to know about life insurance?
Life insurance provides money to certain people (for example, your partner or your children) when you die. You can buy life insurance on your own. Or sometimes you can get it from your employer. There are different kinds of life insurance and lots of different companies to buy it from. Do some homework to figure out what kind of plan is right for you and your family.
For life insurance, you need to state who your beneficiaries are. A beneficiary is someone who you designate to get money from your life insurance if you die. Beneficiaries often include your partner and your children. You also list beneficiaries in your will and for certain kinds of accounts where you may save money, like a retirement account.
What is long-term disability insurance?
This kind of insurance provides money for your children if you get hurt or sick and can’t work. People 35 to 65 years old are more likely to become disabled than die. So it’s important to have long-term disability to take care of your family just in case. You can buy long-term disability insurance on your own. Or sometimes you can get it from your employer. Again, do some homework to find out about different plans and what’s right for your family
Do you need a will?
Yes. A will is a legal document that gives directions for what you want to happen when you die. In your will, you can say who you want to take care of your children and what happens to your money and belongings. You list your beneficiaries and what you want each person to get in your will. For more information about writing your will, visit USA.gov.
What about maternity and paternity leave?
Maternity and paternity leave (also called parental leave) is time off from work for mom or dad after their baby’s birth. (It also can apply to time after bringing an adopted baby home.) If you or your partner work, find out what your employer gives for maternity and paternity leave. Talk to someone in the human resources department at your workplace.
Because of the Family and Medical Leave Act, parents who have worked at least 1 year for a company with 50 or more employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off for parental leave. And you have to get your job back at the end of your leave.
For more information
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
CDC Show Your Love Campaign
Last reviewed September 2013
Most common questions
Can dad's exposure to chemicals harm his future kids?
Dad's exposure to harmful chemicals and substances before conception or during his partner's pregnancy can affect his children. Harmful exposures can include drugs (prescription, over-the-counter and illegal drugs), alcohol, cigarettes, cigarette smoke, chemotherapy and radiation. They also include exposure to lead, mercury and pesticides.
Unlike mom's exposures, dad's exposures do not appear to cause birth defects. They can, however, damage a man's sperm quality, causing fertility problems and miscarriage. Some exposures may cause genetic changes in sperm that may increase the risk of childhood cancer. Cancer treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation, can seriously alter sperm, at least for a few months post treatment. Some men choose to bank their sperm to preserve its integrity before they receive treatment. If you have a question about a specific exposure, contact the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists at www.mothertobaby.org/.
I've been diagnosed with PCOS. Can I get pregnant?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a medical condition that can affect a woman's menstrual cycle, hormones, heart, blood vessels, appearance (especially excessive hair growth) and the ability to have children. Although women do make small levels of androgens, also called male hormones, women with PCOS typically have high levels of androgens. This creates a hormonal disorder that affects ovulation and fertility. PCOS can cause many infertility cases. However, with the right treatment, many women have been able to get pregnant.
Women with PCOS often have trouble keeping a healthy weight. Having a healthy weight and increasing physical activity will help maintain ovulation and fertility. It'll also help prevent other complications like diabetes and heart disease. Your health care provider might consider the following treatments to help you get pregnant.
- Medications to help improve insulin resistance and ovulation
- Medication to induce ovulation
My menstrual period is irregular. Can I get pregnant?
Every woman's menstrual cycle is different. Some women have their cycle like clockwork. Others have trouble knowing when it's going to happen. If you have only slight variations from month to month, but you have your menstrual period at least once every 25 to 35 days, this could be normal. However, if your cycle is absent for more than 2 months, you bleed too little or too much and you can't predict when it's going to happen, talk to your health provider. Having an irregular menstrual cycle may mean that ovulation isn't happening or it's happening only a few times a year. This will affect your ability to get pregnant. Your health provider will probably check your thyroid, pituitary and adrenal glands. After a checkup your health provider will discuss your treatment options.