The Hidden Costs of Pregnancy

Image via Flickr/Frank De Kleine

Sure, you might be prepared to start saving your child’s college tuition or stockpiling diapers like they’re going out of style, but are you prepared for the causes of the (gasp) hidden costs of pregnancy?

Image via Chaunie Brusie

Paternity leave.

If you read my article on paternity leave, you may have been as shocked as I was to discover that many more men than you realize are eligible for paternity leave.

Unfortunately, although my husband (who’s a teacher) was actually eligible for the full 12 weeks of paternity leave, that leave would have been, sadly, unpaid. If your man is eligible for paternity leave and decided to take it, you may lose out on his paycheck.

Image via Flickr/mahalie stockpole

Maternity leave

You can’t have one without the other; like paternity leave, women have to be eligible to receive maternity leave, most of which falls under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Women who are eligible can take up to 12 weeks of leave in many cases, but — and here’s the kicker — don’t receive any kind of guaranteed paycheck alongside their time to care for their baby.

Image via Flickr/Flaxe

Vacation days

Women (like me) who don’t have any paid maternity leave might lose on money during their actual pregnancy by cashing in vacation days before they’re come due.


Image via Flickr/Danny Cain

Job losses and penalties.

Although the law is supposed to protect pregnant women from discrimination, in many real-life instances pregnant women, especially those in physically demanding jobs, are still penalized on the job for pregnancy-impaired performances. I mean, I’m all about not selling women short, but expecting a 9-month-pregnant woman to do a job that involves heavy lifting to the same capacity as her pre-pregnant state might be erring on the side of foolishness. And some employers refuse to accommodate pregnant women — and instead place them on unpaid leave or lay them off altogether.

Image via Flickr/Nina Matthews

Maternity clothes

Unless you happen to be one of those lucky women who get away with never having to wear maternity clothes during their pregnancies (Halle Berry, I’m looking at you), you will have to invest in some type of maternity wardrobe. Personally, I hate buying maternity clothes (9 months is such a short amount of time, right?) but I am a pregnant woman with a larger-than-life baby, so it just can’t be helped. Over my three pregnancies I’ve probably spent an average of $300-$500 dollars on maternity clothes. To give you an estimate, on one trip to Destination Maternity, a popular expectant momma store at the mall, I spent $100 alone on just one pair of jeans, one pair of shorts, two tank tops, and one t-shirt. Ouch.


Image via Flickr/Scott

Pregnancy complications

Of course we all hope for easy and healthy pregnancies, but sometimes, complications do happen. One nurse I work with was a young 21-year-old woman with no complications, until suddenly – with almost a month to go – she developed high blood pressure and had to go on bed rest. Although she had leave and vacation days saved up, she used almost all of them up before her baby was even born.

Image via Flickr/Alan Cleaver

Your insurance deductible

Have insurance? With a deductible? Watch out or you may end up paying twice for your pregnancy. If you get pregnant near the end of the year and deliver early in the next, you may have to pay out-of-pocket for your medical care twice!

A pregnant woman saves money into a piggy bank
Image via iStock

Medical costs

According to WebMd, “the charge for an uncomplicated cesarean section was about $15,800 in 2008. An uncomplicated vaginal birth costs about $9,600.” Wow!

{Related: 6 Tips to Save Money During Pregnancy}

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What do you think?

The Hidden Costs of Pregnancy

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. Alanna says:

    I can understand most of these expenses, but the fact that medical bills are so high and maternity/paternity leave is unsatisfactory should be changed on a federal level.

  2. Bianca says:

    Me and my fiance have been going crazy about what we are going to do for money and unfortunately things dont always work out as planned proof me being pregnant but it seem like when you’re pregnant more and more expenses keep pilling on i always knew having kids was expensive but when you’re pregnant it all comes into reality … im not giving up though.

  3. stephanie says:

    Its ridiculous! You would think the doctor is pushing the baby out for you. I have military insurance because of my husband and I don’t even have the option to see a provider out of the military without being charged insane rates and fees. And the hospitals on base are horrible. The worst care you can give a human being. I hope I have no complications.

  4. Shorts says:

    Pregnancy costs so much!

  5. Rachael says:

    With my first pregnancy I was one of the lucky ones who did not need to buy maternity clothes. This time around I popped so much sooner that it wasn’t an option to skip them. However, it doesn’t have to be expensive! Talk to your other mom friends- borrow!!! I have a group of friends that simply passes the clothes around to whoever is pregnant at the moment. Also, garage sales! For a full maternity wardrobe I paid less than $40.

  6. EJsMommy2013 says:

    with the 20 days of bed rest in the hospital, 3 days in the hospital & son in NICU (precautionary) for 4 days….the bill was $66K. Thankfully the military insurance we had covered nearly all of it except $350.

  7. dvmsara says:

    I would add FOOD as something I wouldn’t have thought about. As a pregnant woman (and continuing after birth if you are breastfeeding), you will eat significantly more. You may also be too tired to make a full meal from scratch and more likely to buy easy-to-prepare foods and/or to go out to eat or get carry-out, all of which are more expensive than cooking from scratch.

  8. raquel says:

    if a company doesn’t accommodate because a women is pregnant then I think its called discrimination which is against the law last time I checked. Thats why disability pays for the first 6 weeks after u leave work

    • Yes, in California, the state pays for 6 weeks of disability, but in many states (mine included – FL), the state does not pay a dime for disability. You have to personally buy and pay for disability insurance in order to get that. And the insurance won’t count for maternity leave unless you already had it BEFORE you got pregnant, so something to check out for sure, as each state is very different, and many don’t give you anything…sad, but true

  9. raquel says:

    with paternity leave it depends on your state whether u get paid for it. In California paternity gets paid thru disability just like the mommy but it also depends on where you work. If the daddy works in a small company he may not qualify but if he does then he also has a year to use it. Its called baby bonding in California

  10. Beatrice says:

    It’s a big responsibility! Parents-to-be should be aware of everything it entails.

  11. Shannon says:

    Not sure what’s so “hidden” about these costs. Buying maternity clothes was not a big surprise expense for me. Nor was the fact that I was going to have to pay something for the hospital/medical care, etc.

  12. april says:

    wow down here in louisiana i paid $18,000 to give birth to my son and that doesn’t count the monthly dr payments of $200 every 2 weeks and to have him surcumcized was an extra $250 so for those that have welfare are the luckiest no money out of pocket

  13. stephanie says:

    This was a very interesting article! I didn’t know men could receive paternity leave; for me and my family, my spouse cannot afford to take such a leave to spend with our child. Knowing that if the opportunity ever arose I’d love for him to take it.

  14. Georgia says:

    I didn’t even realize men could get paternity leave.. that was a major shocker for me

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