5 Surprising Ways to Save Money During Your Pregnancy

by Carrie Kirby on 20 November 2015 (0 comments)

My husband and I had barely stopped staring at the positive pregnancy test when the advertising began. We received coupons in the mail for baby superstores and nursery furniture boutiques. I subscribed to a pregnancy magazine that touted belly creams, mommy-to-be fitness courses, and a plethora of "essentials" that I had never known existed.

When you're expecting, it's as if you have a bullseye painted on that growing belly — and marketers of products and services are all aiming at it. My husband and I didn't have a lot of spare cash, so it was a relief to realize that being pregnant didn't have to cost as much as it seemed. Here are some ideas to help you save:

1. Don't Buy Maternity Clothes

Well, not until you absolutely have to. Even then, don't buy them at retail prices.

My first visit to a maternity store started out as a rite of passage — but it turned into a reality check when I realized that these specialized clothes can cost twice as much as their regular equivalents. You'd be surprised by how far into pregnancy many women get with their regular wardrobe, and with conventional clothes a size or two bigger than usual. Select the loose and stretchy items from your closet like sundresses and empire-waist blouses. Use rubber bands to close pesky buttons. Many women use belly bands to allow them to wear their regular pants farther into their pregnancy.

Although it might seem like you'll get more wear out of your maternity clothes if you start wearing them early on, the truth is that if you buy them too early, you may end up having to buy larger ones — or clothes for a different season — by the third trimester.

Plus, the longer you go without shopping, the more time you have to ask around for free or low-cost maternity clothes. Once moms who have already given birth find out you are pregnant, they're likely to offer to pass on their maternity wardrobes to you. You can also ask for maternity clothes on Freecycle.

Many children's resale shops and consignment events have maternity sections where you can find serious discounts. Since maternity clothes are worn for such a short time, they tend to be in great shape even when used.

2. You Have More Control Over Medical Expenses Than You Think

If you are young and healthy, you may not have paid attention before now to what your health care plan covers, or what your out-of-pocket costs are. When you are preparing to start a family, assess your coverage and determine which plan is best for you. You should also find out if your medical and dental plans offer healthy pregnancy programs, which might cover special maternity needs such as extra teeth cleanings or pregnancy-related prescriptions. Make sure to select an OB/GYN or midwife and hospital that are in your plan’s network. Also, check to see if your insurer has online tools to help you estimate the cost of labor and delivery ahead of time. That way you can budget appropriately!

3. Take Care of Your Teeth

If you're saving up for new baby expenses and time off work, you may be tempted to skip regular dental checkups. In fact, a study by Cigna found that 43% of pregnant women don't go in for dental checkups, even though 76% admit to suffering from oral health problems such as bleeding gums or toothaches. For many, cost is an issue. Yet many women don’t realize that most dental benefit plans cover preventive care visits every six months with no or low out-of-pocket costs.

Women need dental care during pregnancy more than ever, because hormonal changes can worsen certain oral health conditions, such as gingivitis, and cause more serious gum disease. Any infection in mom, including in the mouth, can pose a potential risk to the baby, and ignoring dental problems now can lead to higher costs down the road. I found this out the hard way when I skipped the dentist during my first two pregnancies, only to discover afterwards that I needed several fillings and a root canal. Not only did I have significant out-of-pocket expenses for these treatments, I had to arrange for childcare during my appointment.

4. Skip the Expensive Nursery Items

Decorating the nursery is an exciting activity for new parents. But don’t get dazzled by all those decoration ideas on Pinterest. Spending a fortune on expensive nursery items might seem essential, but you don’t have to go that route. Most newborns actually sleep in their parents' bedroom at first; in fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it.

When selecting items for the nursery, consider creative ideas to keep the costs low. When our first was born, we lived in a one-bedroom apartment, so we shoehorned a crib and a dresser/changing table combo into our bedroom. I added a rocking chair in the living room for nursing. Crib, chair and dresser were all purchased second-hand at a fraction of their original cost.

5. Save on Prenatal Vitamins

While some doctors write prescriptions for prenatal vitamins, some women prefer to buy them over the counter. Be sure to check with your health insurer to see which brands are covered. Also consider asking your doctor to prescribe a generic version instead – these are usually less expensive than brand name medications.

Remember, one of the most important things you can do for your baby during pregnancy is to eat a healthy diet and get prenatal care. For more information about Cigna's maternity oral health study, visit http://newsroom.cigna.com/dental-study

This article is sponsored by Cigna. The article is for educational purposes only and is intended to promote consumer health. It is not intended as financial or medical advice and you should always consult a professional for financial or medical advice. Any reference to the products, services, information or websites of any non-CIGNA-affiliated entity is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as an endorsement by Cigna of the products, services, information, or websites of such entities, nor should such reference be construed as an endorsement by such entities of the products, services, information or websites of Cigna and/or its affiliates. Cigna neither reviews nor controls the content and accuracy of these references or websites, and therefore will not be responsible for their content and accuracy.

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Happy Love

Also check eBay for maternity clothes and baby supplies. If you have time on your side, then you can find some good deals there. For more other items, Amazon.com is often cheaper than brick-and-mortar stores. Again, with time on your side, you can create price watches on camelcamelcamel.com for more expensive items.

Other than the crib, car seat, and breast pump (according to every website and book that I've read), everything else that you need can be purchased second hand.

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Jen @ keenconsumer.com

My girl friend saved a bunch on maternity clothes by borrowing her sister's clothing and she gave them back to her sister when her sister was having another. The clothes were just used a couple of months between the two of them and the swapping of clothes saved them a bunch!