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Preparing for Baby continued...

You can save money on diapers and wipes by buying in bulk. A 250-pack of diapers usually costs about $40.

You can also save money by using cloth diapers. Wipes can also be substituted for washcloths, saving you about $10-$15 for a box of almost 400, which typically lasts a few weeks for one child.

Baby clothes are like maternity clothes. You can spend a lot of money or you can save by asking around for gently worn hand-me-downs. Babies outgrow their outfits fast, so this is a great way to trim your budget.

Another important cost when you are getting ready for your baby's arrival is childbirth education, Hill says. Classes range in price from about $50 to $200. They can help you learn how to deal with the trials of pregnancy and childbirth. And the classes can also teach you how to survive the first few weeks with a newborn.

Hospital Expenses

The cost of having a baby can really add up at the hospital. You should make sure you are well-prepared financially for this part of pregnancy, especially if you don't have health insurance.

The costs of childbirth can be steep. The charge for an uncomplicated cesarean section was about $15,800 in 2008. An uncomplicated vaginal birth cost about $9,600, government data show.

Women who have individual health insurance policies often find that maternity care coverage is completely excluded, says Carol Sakala, PhD, director of programs at the nonprofit Childbirth Connection.

Medicaid or group private insurance plans, however, cover almost all pregnancy-related health care costs.

"It's important to be aware that these numbers reflect the amount a hospital will charge for these services, rather than the actual cost," says Anne Elixhauser, PhD, senior research scientist at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. "The actual amount of what it costs the hospital to perform the service is about 30% of what's charged."

For someone facing out-of-pocket costs, this is an important negotiating tool.

"Ask and negotiate with a hospital to pay a discounted rate," Sakala says. "Since what is being charged is significantly higher than the actual cost, you have some room to potentially save."

The Bottom Line

Here's a cheat sheet of some of the approximate costs -- or ranges, depending on your insurance situation -- you'll face when you decide it's time to have a baby:

  • Prenatal care: $0-$2,000
  • Prenatal vitamin: $15 for a 30-day supply
  • Maternity clothes: Free, if shared
  • Crib: $200
  • Wipes: $10 for a box of 400
  • Diapers: $40 for a box of 250
  • Monitor: $25
  • Changing table and pad: $125
  • Baby clothes: Free, if shared
  • Car seat: $125
  • Childbirth classes: $50-$200 per class
  • Hospital costs: $0-$15,000