Don’t Let Financial Stress Override A Happy Pregnancy
How to prepare financially for motherhood
Entering the world of motherhood is a time of great joy and excitement but it can also be a time of stress and uncertainty.
John Manyike, Head of Financial Education at Old Mutual, says, “During pregnancy, expectant parents do a lot of research into the various trimesters, the birth itself and how to care for the baby. Financial planning is seldom prioritised when preparing for the new addition to the family. But ensuring that your finances are under control can eliminate unnecessary pressures, reduce anxiety and give new parents the confidence and peace of mind to thoroughly enjoy their new chapter in life,” adds Manyike.
Importantly, having your finances in order could help you have a healthy baby. In April 2017, Ohio State University conducted research into the effects of stress – such as financial strain, depressive symptoms, pregnancy-specific distress, perceived stress and general anxiety – on expectant mothers and their babies. The study revealed that these strains during pregnancy could contribute to your baby being underweight at birth.
Manyike outlines the various elements you need to consider to ensure a financially stress-free pregnancy:
In your first trimester:
• Research antenatal care options.
• Decide where you would like to give birth.
• Enquire about the different costs involved including doctor’s visits and scans.
• Find out what antenatal care your current medical aid covers.
• Opt for the best medical care you can afford. If you can’t afford a medical aid, government clinics and hospitals provide this care free of charge.
• Open a savings account and put as much money aside as possible to ensure a robust savings cushion for your soon-to-be bundle of joy.
• Don’t splurge on maternity clothing as it is only temporary. Only purchase the necessities, like a couple of dresses, tights and tunics that will see you through the nine months.
• If you are employed, contact your HR manager to find out about your company’s policy regarding maternity leave and benefits. Legally you are allowed four months off work, but most companies offer this as unpaid, not paid leave.
• Visit your local UIF office or download the required forms to apply for your maternity benefits.
• By this time, you should have booked your bed at the hospital or clinic of your choice.
• Start shopping for baby essentials like clothes, nappies, a cot, a car seat and linen. Pre-loved and used baby items can also be bought or borrowed through family, friends and forums. Chances also are your friends and family will organize a baby shower for you. So before you duplicate items, wait to see what you are lucky enough to receive. If you can’t wait, keep your receipts in case you need to exchange or return items.
• Know your budget and don’t let your excitement overtake your reasoning. Only buy what you can afford!
“Nothing beats being prepared. It gives you the freedom to enjoy this new parenting journey you are embarking on. Having a baby could be expensive, but proper planning is the first step to your young family’s financial well-being. This Mother’s Day we should also appreciate all the preparation and budgeting that our own mothers (and sometimes grandmothers and aunts too) have done over the years to give us the best life they could,” concludes Manyike.
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