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 What to Financially Expect When You’re Expecting a Baby
 What to Financially Expect When You’re Expecting a Baby
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What to Financially Expect When You’re Expecting a Baby

Sheila Brenda Andoi
August 9, 2021

Babies are blessings and a joy to behold. But preparing for parenthood is not a small task for new parents. In fact, most parents say that one is never really prepared or ready.

From checklists, to savings, to making a million little adjustments mentally, physically and even spiritually it is indeed a tasking experience. One thing to note from this however, is that finances are involved in every single step of the way.

Some people may do it right and some think that they do it wrong. Is there a right way to go about it? Let’s dive in.

How early do you need to start planning?

The question should in fact be, how early is early?

The excitement of having a baby makes some parents to start making plans as soon as they realise that they are expecting and that can be as early as one month or a few weeks. The same excitement however causes others to take a deep breath and take some time to process everything before they start making arrangements for a new member of the family, and there are some who don’t plan at all.

The truth is, preparing yourself financially for a baby takes a lot of planning as Elizabeth Renter – a senior writer and data analyst - puts it; 

“Preparing for a baby isn’t just tiny clothes and ultrasound photos. It involves a lot of financial preparation. You need to estimate your medical costs, plan leave from your job and budget for the arrival. Planning for a child is lengthy.”

Planning for a new-born will typically involve:

  • Signing up for health insurance before the baby is born if you don’t already have one.
  • Researching and/or confirming your workplace’s maternity leave policy.
  • Creating a savings plan for your baby.
  • Budgeting for baby expenses.
  • Choosing where to deliver your baby.

Depending on what time frame you and your partner decide to give yourselves, the bottomline is; planning and preparation are essential. You wouldn’t want to be caught unawares when there’s a way out.

Remember, it’s never too early to start making smart financial decisions for your pregnancy and parenthood.

Understanding Maternity Health Insurance

Available estimates indicate that, the cost of giving birth in Kenya without an insurance cover ranges between Ksh40,000 and Ksh130,000 for a normal/vaginal birth and between Ksh100,000 and Ksh260,000 for a C-section birth. 

Those figures are not inclusive of prenatal hospital visits, tests and scans which can cost you from Ksh600 to Ksh4,000 per visit. Note that all this also depends on your geographical location and the type of hospital you choose to give birth in – whether public or private.

Maternal health coverage makes it easier and cheaper to get medical services, go for check-ups and screening tests to keep the mother and baby healthy during and after pregnancy.

One thing that most parents have to understand is, not all maternity coverage is equal. You might have insurance but still end up paying for extra costs hence the need to know what insurance policy works for you and in what way.

It is important to check with your health insurance provider if you have questions such as;

  • Does my insurance cover maternity health?
  • What is covered under my policy’s prenatal and postnatal care?
  • In case of any complications, will I still be covered by my insurance?
  • How much does my health insurance cover? What’s the limit for maternity coverage?
  • What is the waiting period for my maternity insurance policy?

Currently, there are two unique government-backed maternity insurance policies in Kenya:

  • Linda mama maternal service which is also part of the NHIF cover benefits. It is given to women on the basis of need and inability to pay. This service offers free maternity insurance which includes; antenatal care, delivery, postnatal care, conditions and complications during pregnancy and outpatient care for infants.
  • NHIF also has a maternity Supa Cover service which caters for antenatal care, prenatal care and deliveries (normal and cesarean section). NHIF prenatal care service has a limit of up to Ksh10,000 for normal child delivery and Ksh30,000 for C-section.

Private insurance companies also cover a range of maternity health benefits and costs. Listed below are some of the maternity benefits covered by most private insurance companies in Kenya;

  • Normal delivery
  • Elective and subsequent C- section.
  • First Emergency C-section.
  • Ectopic pregnancy and maternity complications before and after the baby is born.
  • Miscarriage.

 It is worth noting that postnatal visits are free at government hospitals.

Maternity/Paternity Leave Plan

Section 29 of Employment Act, 2017, provides for employees maternity leave entitlements. 

A female employee is entitled to three months maternity leave with full pay. This is in addition to any period of annual leave she is entitled to, and sick leave if she happens to fall sick during her time of confinement and with the consent of the employer.

The law also allows a male employee two weeks paternity leave with full pay.

It is worth knowing that maternity leave in Kenya is calculated as 90 calendar days and not 90 working days. What this means is that, a parent has exactly 3 months to stay at home with her newborn.

This also comes with a responsibility that requires the employee to inform their employer seven days before they begin their maternity leave in a written notice.

Maternity leave policy in Kenya does not have any limits pertaining to how many times a woman can take a maternity leave. This means that a woman is eligible for paid maternity leave any time she is pregnant.

Updating Your Household Budget

In Kenya we have a baby shower culture before one gives birth, or in some instances after the baby is born, where a few friends come together to shower the mom-to-be with gifts and money.

In most if not all baby showers, diapers are normally the number one commodity that never gets forgotten and this can help to cut down on a lot of costs for many parents.

However, whether a baby shower is done for you or not, you can still financially plan for your baby within your regular budget. Your household budget can be updated before and after the baby is born in order to ensure that the journey is smooth before having your baby and after having your baby. Some of the things you require include:

  • Disposable diapers. Most households in Kenya prefer disposable diapers compared to reusable diapers. Plan on spending roughly Ksh4000 on diapers per month on your baby, depending on the brand you use. You can start making purchases early and in bulk or take advantage of offer seasons where you can get double when you buy one, or very good discounted offers.
  • Nurse your child if you possibly can. It will save you at least Ksh3000 per month in your child’s first year if you were to use baby formula milk which is very costly.
  • Be cost-conscious on clothes. Most parents tend to over shop on clothes for the little one and in most cases they never end up wearing most of those clothes. Or buying very expensive wear for the baby which they soon outgrow. Buy just what’s enough and what you need at the moment and you can get some more as the baby grows and when need arises.
  • Shop around. With the internet at our disposal you can look up for items and compare prices at the comfort of your home. Shopping around also helps you to compare the different brands and packages being offered. 

Once you know what your baby’s budget looks like, it’s very easy for you to control where you money goes and in most cases even save up some cash for the future. With proper planning, your household budget won’t be affected as much because you can trim unnecessary expenses and make room for more necessary household items.

When the baby comes, now is the time to enjoy your baby’s little feet and cuddles. And oh, sleepless nights as well.

 Happy Parenting!

Sheila Brenda Andoi is a communicator, journalist, editor, and writer passionate about human-interest stories. You can find her on Twitter @sheilaandoi

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