I was still a student when I learned that I was pregnant. Although it happened at the wrong time, I'd still consider it as one of the best and most exciting moments of my life. I knew it was going to be emotionally and financially burdensome as I was going through the whole pregnancy alone, but everything was truly worth it.
To help myself financially, I worked as a part-time online tutor, where I could work from home and earn P3,000 a month. I also set aside what I could from my school allowance, which was P100 to P150 pesos every day. It was really difficult to save during those times, but I managed somehow.
I am aware that having a baby, especially if it’s unexpected, does not come cheap. There are so many things you need to prepare for: the monthly prenatal care, milk, vitamins, and hospitalization, and the baby's needs. However, there are some things you can do to lower your expenses and make sure you still have enough money after giving birth. With that said, here are my personal budget tips to help you save money during your pregnancy until you give birth.
1. Avail of the prenatal care at health centers. It’s free, so might as well take advantage! You only need to donate a small amount in exchange for the services. While it is rare that an ob-gyn who assists at the health center, they usually have a midwife who is also trained well to look after and provide healthcare assistance to an expectant mother and her unborn child. You don’t really have to worry about anything at all. Since the health center was just a short distance from my house, I was also able to save money on transportation.
2. Spend on medical tests only when the doctor requires them. The most important medical tests that every pregnant woman should get are a urine test and a blood test. During my fourth month, my doctor told me to get an ultrasound since my baby was low-lying, which wasn’t good. With the help of medication, everything turned out okay.
Four months later, I was asked to have another ultrasound to determine the weight of my baby. My doctor was a bit worried since my tummy was so small on my eighth month of pregnancy. Besides those tests, I did not spend on anything else unless my doctor told me to do so.
3. You don't need to get a 4D Ultrasound. The minimum cost for a 4D ultrasound, according to Cost Mentor, is around $37 or 1,800 pesos for a single session. That’s a lot of money for a service that isn’t exactly required by doctors. A 4D ultrasound isn’t usually necessary. Although it’s nice to get a glimpse of your baby’s facial features before giving birth, there’s always a thrill in surprises.
While I did get one, it was the traditional 2D ultrasound, which cost me less than P500 a session, and that’s more than 200 percent in savings.
4. Avail of maternity packages at the hospital. Personally, I think this is probably the most cost-efficient option for a pregnant woman. The package usually covers the professional fee of an OB-gyn, prenatal care visits, fees of labor and delivery rooms, 3-day stay at the OB ward, and a list of medical supplies needed during the whole admission. There may be additional costs, though, such as medical tests and ultrasound, which will be conducted in the hospital.
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When I was pregnant in 2011, I chose to avail the maternity package deal at St. Vincent General Hospital in Cebu City. I paid a total of P10,000: P8,000 for the package and P2,000 for other expenses. But the total amount went up to P15,000 because my daughter needed to stay in the nursery for a week.
With maternity packages, everything is already set for you. However, these are usually only applicable when you have a normal delivery. In the event when you need to give birth through a cesarean section, expect to pay a much higher hospital bill.
The budget tips above worked for me personally, but do explore other options that you might find useful. Do a lot of research, ask around, join forums -- these are avenues that can help you enjoy your pregnancy journey. The most important thing at the moment is that you and your baby are safe during the whole nine months, and that you have secured a safe and comfortable plan for your delivery.