The True Cost Of Having A Baby In Kenya

An expectant mother. ISTOCKPHOTO

One of the biggest costs one will ever experience is that of raising a child. The costs come in many forms – financial costs, opportunity costs, physiological costs and much more.

However, there is no greater joy than having the privilege of raising your child – through whom your legacy will be left for generations.

As the Good book says, children are arrows in one’s quiver.

Many people fear the costs that come with having children, right from pregnancy, but just like with everything else in life – costs can be as high or low as you want or can afford.

I do not advocate for going cheap when it comes to pregnancy and healthcare, because cheap is expensive. However, you can get affordable care which is of good quality.

Here is a breakdown of some of the costs that come with pregnancy.

First, if you are a woman who is planning her family ahead of time (and it works out), you should consider taking out insurance a year before getting pregnant if you are taking out an individual medical insurance cover. This is because insurance companies will generally not cover your maternity expenses if you sign up after getting pregnant (how nice! For them).

If you work in a corporate or other organisational setting, you may be eligible for maternity cover benefits regardless of when you join. However, each organisation has its own arrangements with their medical care provider, so ask your human resource manager what applies to you. Cover limits, terms, hospitals allowed and all other medical matters vary widely from organisation to organisation.

As you look at what medical benefits you can access from a private insurer, make sure you are signed up and up to date with your NHIF cover because private insurance firms will often only pay the balance on top of the daily rebate paid by the national insurer (which is a standard Ksh2,900 per night). The private firms may not pay your bed charges if you don’t have an NHIF cover.

Once you are up to date with your medical insurance, the next thing to consider is the cost of prenatal appointments. The number one should go to in the course of her pregnancy is really a personal decision. It is recommended to go for at least six appointment throughout the term of your pregnancy, but there are women (who have low-risk pregnancies) who have opted to go for as few as four appointments, and there are others who have gone for up to 10 or more appointments (because they are carrying multiples, or for other reasons that make it a high-risk pregnancy, or just because the mother wants to). Prenatal appointments in Nairobi can cost anywhere from Ksh600 to Ksh5,000, depending on whether one is visiting a public or mission hospital or opts for a private gynaecologist.

The next cost to consider is that of prenatal vitamins and calcium tablets. The price for this also largely varies, depending on the brand used and the supplier.

As your pregnancy journey progresses, there will be need for ultrasound scans to check that your baby is developing well and to find out the gender of your baby (after week 18) if you so wish.

There are also costs associated with the possible need for you to change your diet during your pregnancy for reasons such as nausea or cravings or other hormonal conditions.

The big cost associated with having a baby is the admission and delivery cost.

As mentioned earlier, cheap is expensive. Don’t go for a cheap facility just to save coins and put your health and that of your baby in jeopardy.

However, you need not go to the most expensive hospital, thinking this equates to the best care available.

Admission costs will depend on whether you chose a ward or a private room, or if you fancy, a presidential suite. The list is endless. The cost per night could range from Ksh5,000 to more than Ksh100,000 per night depending on your pocket.

The cost will also vary depending on whether you will have a vaginal delivery or a Caesarean section and each doctor has his/her own fees.

Once you determine what facilities you are willing to spend on, you can compute costs for each of the items involved, but remember, to cut your coat according to your cloth.

As always, remember to do the Johnnie Walker in the motherhood journey – Keep walking.

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