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Little Blessings and your Budget

Costs to consider before, during and after having a child/children

Children are a blessing, but their presence can negatively impact your budget. Here's how you can manage your budget while looking after a family.

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By Alicia Moses and Ann Shoai, FSCA Consumer Education Department  

25 January 2023


Congratulations, you are going to be parents. Hearing these words can sometimes be exciting, scary and overwhelming all at the same time. Whether you have been waiting a long time, planned your pregnancy or are surprised by the news, there are a few costs that you need to be prepared for when it comes to little blessings and your budget.

Having a new member in your family means that a few things will have to change including your household budget. According to the FSCA's 2020 Baseline Survey, approximately half (46 %) of South Africans aged 16 years and older said that they had a household budget. This means that 54% are not budgeting and expecting parents who do not have a budget will need to start now, so that they can plan around the expected costs for a baby.

Here are some of the costs that you need to be prepared for when expecting a baby;

Pre-natal care

Mommies to be must consider pre-natal care. This includes eating well and taking daily vitamins, such as folic acid for example. In addition, monthly check-ups at the local clinic, doctor, midwife or gynaecologist will also be required. The frequency of these visits increases as you get to the last trimester (months 7-9) or if you have complications during your pregnancy.  The costs hereof can be made in cash or via a medical aid, unless you go to a government hospital/clinic where these services are free of charge. Gynaecologists charge between R1400 to R2000 for first visits, and around R950 for follow up visits, thereafter this can be expensive if you are a cash paying client. Call your medical aid to find out if your gynaecologist is on their service provider list – this is one way to check if your medical aid will cover all your visits to the gynae or if you will be liable for a co-payment. High-risk pregnancies require additional care which also comes at an additional cost. There are also standard blood tests that are required as soon as your pregnancy is confirmed by a medical professional.


A birth plan tells medical personnel about your intended birth idea. You may consider giving birth at home with your midwife, a private hospital or at a Government hospital/clinic. If you have selected the former, there will be a cost upfront and post-delivery.  In a private hospital, a natural birth costs around R25,000 and includes one to three days of hospitalisation. The costs increase to between R35000 to R50000 depending on any complications and if you give birth via a caesarean section. There are some hospitals that specifically cater to expectant mothers wanting to give birth either naturally or via caesarean section. If you chose to have a natural birth you can be discharged from a medical facility within a day or two. If you have a planned or an emergency c-section, you will be required to stay in hospital for a period of three days or longer post birth. If you choose to have an epidural for either birth option, the anaesthetist will charge a separate fee for his/her services. A paediatrician will also do a post birth check-up on baby. Before you give birth, you will be required to pack a hospital bag. Ask your medical professional for a list of what to pack for yourself and baby.  

Post-birth recovery

After giving birth to your precious miracle, you will need some post-birth care in order to make a full recovery. You will also be advised to go for a 6-week post birth (natural or c-section) check up to ensure that you are healing well. Other cost elements to consider are: adding your baby to your medical aid (cost is dependent on your plan and medical aid provider), a breast pump or formula if you decide not to breastfeed or both, diapers, toiletries, clothes, blankets, wet-wipes, a cot, car seat, pram, bottles, sterilizer and dummy etc. Monthly you could spend around R1000-R2500 on baby essentials such as toiletries, and formula if you are not breastfeeding.

Baby vaccinations and check ups

As soon as baby is born, hospitals and clinics will do certain tests on the baby and give him/her their first vaccine. Some facilities also do a hearing test.  You will receive a vaccination card with information on when to take your baby for vaccinations. The government subsidises some vaccines, however you may need to pay for others. Some nurses also charge an administration fee to give your baby a vaccine that is not covered by medical aid. For girls, the last vaccine is generally given at the age of 12. Also do your own research in terms of what vaccinations you want to give your child. Government clinics provide these services for free while private institutions can charge up to R1600.

Maternity Leave

South African Labour law states that moms are entitled to four months unpaid maternity leave which can be taken from four weeks prior to the birth date. As a new parent you will need to decide if you are going to take maternity leave to look after your baby. A doctor can certify you fit for work only after a period of 6 weeks post the birth of baby. Some employers offer maternity benefits such as three months paid maternity leave whilst other employers may provide no maternity benefits. Ask your employer about the maternity benefits available to you. If you are taking unpaid maternity leave and you have made contributions when you were working to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), you may claim maternity benefits for the three-month period for example. If you are unemployed, you can apply for a child support grant at your local South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) offices. The grant is currently R480 a month and it is increased annually.


You will need to consider if you will continue working or be a stay at home mom. If you have to return to work, you will need to look for someone to take care of your baby during the day. You could hire a stay in/day nanny, send baby to a daycare/creche/nursery/day mother or get your parents or grandparents and/or family to assist. The cost will differ according to which option you choose for your child and your location. Childcare centres cost between R1500 – R4500, nurseries from R1000 – R2500, while private nannies cost more. If you are lucky to have available family members near you, you can ask them to look after your child.


Once your children reach school going age, they would have left the diapers and formula behind and be little independent human beings with very different needs. Now you will need to buy school uniforms, stationary, pay school fees, raise money for events and dish out the additional money for extra-circular activities like playing sport or a musical instrument. In their lifetime most children will get the common cold, flu or an ear infection which could also cost a penny or two. Depending on the type of school your child attends, fees can range from R8 000 to R20 000 for quintile 4 and 5 government schools, which is much less than the R30 000 to R70 000 charged by private schools. Due to government subsidies, students are not required to pay tuition at government schools in quintiles 1 - 3.

Tertiary education

Saving for your child's future should start as soon as they are born, if you can do so financially. It is important to save even a small amount so that your children can get a foot in the door to study further. Tertiary education fees vary depending on the course and the institution you choose, private institutions cost more than public institutions, while universities cost more than colleges. For full-time programmes at a public university, expect to spend between R5 000 and R75 000 per year, while for full-time programmes at private universities, expect to pay between R38 500 and R99 500 per year (Fundi, 2022). However, if you cannot afford these your child can apply for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme but it only funds students at public institutions. Some employers offer study bursaries if your child studies a certain route like actuarial science etc. Look at options available by future employers. You can also consider a study loan, however note that you will pay more than what you borrowed due to interest charges.

Children bring a lot of joy and happiness, but they are also a huge emotional, mental, physical and financial responsibility. Day dreaming of holding that precious little one in your arms can make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but the reality is that you should be informed about the costs to consider before their birth and during their lifetime. It is important that you plan, prepare and manage all of these life stages in order to be able to focus on building memories together, rather than focusing on the costs and having unnecessary .  

For more information on the life experience of Starting a family click here

Further enquiries can be emailed to




National Student Financial Aid Scheme:




South African Government:,you%20are%20on%20maternity%20leave.

Thula baby:


Independent Financial Consultants:



Financial Literacy in South Africa: Results from the 2020 Baseline Survey: