parents

The actual cost of having a baby is terrifyingly high.

The average cost of having a baby in a private hospital is now over $8,500, and no, that doesn’t include out-of-hospital obstetrician’s fees, nappies, or antenatal classes.

A new study by Medibank Private has revealed that the cost of birth has leapt up by 34 per cent in the last six years — the increase is due to rising medical and hospital costs, news.com.au reports. And while parents can claim some of that amount back, Medibank reports that last year new mums faced an average out-of-pocket cost of $392 per birth.

“The sexy thing I’m doing to get my groove back after having a baby.”

Private health insurance doesn’t cover out-of-hospital expenses like obstetrician appointments. Eek.

Obviously, in Australia you can head to your local public maternity ward to give birth for free; a public hospital birth is likely to include a stay at the maternity clinic, a midwife-managed birthing centre, and a community-based midwifery programme (although if you opt for a shared care system — in which you see a non-bulk billing GP for most of your doctor visits — you’ll have to shoulder some out-of-pocket costs).

Sending your kids to private school now costs more than a house. Ouch.

But, whether the birth itself is public or private, there are still other baby essentials — think: cots, formulas, prams, taking time off work to have the baby — to factor into your budget if you plan to reproduce one of these days.

And, if you’re like any of the non-mums in the Mamamia office, the figures will provide a serious incentive to start saving, stat. They include:

Obstetricians, scans and blood tests.

Private health insurance doesn’t cover out-of-hospital expenses like obstetrician appointments, although those OB visits may be covered to some extent by Medicare.

The national average comes in at $1700 for all obstetrician’s appointments — although the average bill for a Sydney obstetrician is $4000 to $5000, according to the Australian Medical Association.

9 things that didn’t come in the parenting brochure.

NIB also reports that an obstetricians’ full fees have been known to hit (a scary) $10,000.

Hipster baby announcement photo shoots: that’ll cost you extra.

You’ll also need pregnancy scans and blood tests throughout the pregnancy.

An initial blood screening costs between $30-200 (although you can get a Medicare rebate of up to about $60), according to NIB. If you’re going public, ultrasounds are free, but you only get two throughout the pregnancy. If you’re going private, ultrasounds can cost $150 -$300, with a Medicate rebate covering some of that sum.

Premature babies.

Care for premature babies can be costly; the cost of treating these babies ranged from $247,000 to (in one case) a whopping $740,000 paid out by the health fund last year, news.com.au reports.

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Medibank revealed that treatment to save premature babies accounted for seven of the top ten highest cost procedures it paid for last year.

Antenatal classes.

You know those scenes in movies where couples practice “ooh-ooh-aah-aah” breathing patterns and watch graphic birth videos? They’re called antenatal classes, and they prepare expectant parents for labour and early parenthood.

Are the mums freaking out the non-mums?’

While some of them are free, others can cost around $300 for a six-week course, according to body + soul mums.  Most hospital-run antenatal classes in Victoria are free, but in other states (like NSW) there’s usually a fee involved, Jane Svensson of Sydney’s Royal Hospital for Women told birth.com.au.

Antenatal classes: anywhere from zero to 300 dollars.

Baby essentials.

And all this before you even get to part that might actually be mildly entertaining – the shopping.

You’ll need a pram, nappies, clean baby clothes, vitamins, supplements, and baby books. The cost of these necessities shouldn’t be underestimated: The average cost of a good quality pram can be anywhere up to $600, while other versions can cost up to a whopping $1599 (clearly for the Michael Shumacher babies of the world).

Cots generally start at around the $300 dollar mark, with a mattress adding another $150 on top of that, body + soul mums reports.

A basic change table (which you’ll no likely spend hours standing over at 2am) will set you back around $80; a carrier could cost anywhere from about $50 for a fabric sling to about $230 for a BabyBjorn carrier; and then there’s nappies to think about, which cost around $15-35 for a box of 50.

Maternity wear is a necessity. Hellooo, $100 dresses that can only be worn for three months.

And sorry to break it to you, but unless you previously favoured lyrca and adjustable waistbands, you’ll need a whole new wardrobe. Hellooo, $100 dresses that can only be worn for three months.

Taking time off work.

One of the biggest expenses, of course, is your loss of income while you take time off to have your tiny human.

Currently, the government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme provides eligible parents with up to 18 weeks of pay at $606.50 per week (before tax). Depending on your income and assets, you may also be entitled to other benefits such as the Family Tax Benefit, Parenting Payment, Rent Assistance or a Health Care Card. You might also be able to access to employer-paid PPL through industrial awards, or individual employment contracts; currently, about 51 per cent of currently employed women have this leave available to them.

But if your workplace doesn’t provide for paid leave after that? You’d better factor that into your budgeting.

We’re sure those tiny, smelly, glorious, chaotic, bundles are totally worth it. But also, WOW.

Time to start saving.

What costs of pregnancy surprised you? Parents, any other major costs we’ve missed?

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