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Birth & More | Birth Costs

Childbirth Costs – what does it really cost to have a baby?

Once the joyous news of a pregnancy has been shared, most parents-to-be start thinking up names, dream up the perfect nursery, work out what all the nappies will cost them and start searching for a solid trust fund to cover their little princess should she decide to study or travel. Not many new parents are aware of the birth costs involved in having a baby. We’ve done the homework for you; all you have to do is be pro-active and set up a savings plan.


Hospital costs
Depending on which hospital you go to, there might be a deposit you need to pay when booking your bed. There are usually two packages to choose from: a standard package that includes your bed only, and a more exclusive package that includes your baby’s name registration and a photo of your newborn and his birth information on their website (available at Netcare hospitals nationwide). This will get published shortly after the birth and allows relatives to get a sneak preview.

Your hospital costs will be determined by the quality and duration of your stay. Most medical aids cover your stay in a standard room while you will have to pay the difference if you prefer the luxury of a private room. The extra charge for a private room is payable on admission. The best way to do it is to get the exact options and costs from the hospital of your choice before you make a booking.

Average hospital costs should you go private (medical aids will cover most of this, depending on your medical aid scheme and plan) are:

  • Caesarean: R25 000 (average as of April 2010)
  • Natural birth: R18 500 (average as of April 2010)

Gynae costs
A gynaecologist has a standard fee for a natural and a caesarean birth.

If you booked an elective Caesar and your water breaks in the early morning hours, or if there is an emergency which means prolonged theatre time, chances are that he will add an emergency fee to his account.

You might have to pay in a substantial percentage of the gynae’s fee as medical aids don’t often cover 100% of the specialist’s costs (again, this depends on your specific medical aid plan). This fee is usually due within 30 days after the birth. Do your homework and ask a medical aid consultant what percentage will be covered – this way you won’t have to deal with a nasty surprise when you need it the least.

  • Average gynae cost for a caesarean and natural birth: R7 250 (as of April 2010)
  • Average gynae emergency cost (depending on time spent in theatre): R500 – R750 (as of April 2010)

When drawing up a childbirth cost plan, remember to add the cost of the paediatrician as his presence is compulsory. He is there to do an Apgar score and check on your little one to make sure that everything is working the way it should be. A great source of comfort, he is!

  • Average cost for the paediatrician being present when baby is being born: R1 500 (as of April 2010)
  • R550 per day thereafter – to do his daily rounds and check on baby until she is discharged (as of April 2010)

If your paediatrician charges medical aid rates, this will be covered fully. If not, you will have to pay in a percentage, depending on your medical aid plan.

Other financial implications to keep in mind:

  • Anaesthetist
    If you have a c-section or an epidural it means that you will receive an account from the anaethetist. Ask your gynae for the anaesthetist’s contact details to get an idea of the costs involved.
  • Maternity leave
    There will be a lack of income, with or without UIF. If you are employed, ask the HR manager about the company’s policy with regards to maternity leave.
  • Adding your baby to your medical aid scheme
    This needs to be done immediately after birth and means you’ll now pay a higher medical rate
  • Midwife (optional)

Once you find out that you are pregnant, draw up a list of all the birth expenses involved and try to put some money away for this big occasion. If you didn’t plan your pregnancy, don’t fret. Besides stress being bad for you and your little one, it won’t accomplish anything. Situations somehow just have a way of working themselves out.

Happy planning!

15 Responses to “Childbirth Costs – what does it really cost to have a baby?”

  1. Katrine says:

    Such a useful article! We all want to know how much it costs but are sometimes too lazy to do research, and this is a great overview of what to expect.

  2. Kerry Horrocks says:

    I am currently on a hospital plan. My stay in hospital is covered but the specialists involved in delivering the child are apparently not covered, neither are my monthly scans prior to delivery. So my first thought was, when I decide to start trying for children I will upgrade my medical aid to a fully comprehensive one. But after speaking to people already fully covered I found out that all the specialist and extra costs come out of your medical savings if the fee is above a certain threshold anyway.

    So I decided that when it’s time to start a family, instead of paying an extra grand or two to upgrade, I would rather put this money into a separate account for any unforeseen bills I might have to pay and just keep my hospital plan the same. And in turn not have to worry about fighting with medical aid companies for reimbursement of claims while trying to adjust to life as a mommy.

  3. Steve says:

    Hi. Myslef and my Fiance are expecting in late July. We are based in Johannesburg and I’ve been trying to find a Hospital where we can have the Baby. The prices are ridiculously high if compared to the ones quoted here.

    Could you kindly assist with any hospitals that have something along the ranges on the site? This would be very helpful as we are not on any medical plan


  4. Editor says:

    Steve > It is possible that the costs involved would be slightly more up in Gauteng, not sure. We received these figures (hospital, specialists etc.) from the better hospitals in the Durban area. You will have to phone around until you find something that suits your budget, a process that might be frustrating and challenging without a medical aid.

  5. Junior says:

    My girlfrnd and I are expecting our first baby(we are on our 12th week),So only major concerns is basically around finance options after birth of the child,clothing,doctors visits,infants foods…since we are a young couple the challenges seems huge and difficult day by day.Thanx to this was very helpful..mind opening..

  6. sarah says:

    hi my name is sarah and im 34 weeks pregnant
    i will like to know what must i prepair for the
    clinic bag when im going to give birth

  7. Esme says:

    I have a hospital plan with medical savings. I know that my gynae does not charge medical aid rates but i really want to be with her. However i have had a separate top up insurance that i’ve had for years and recently i discovered exactly how useful it is to have.They cover the in hospital costs the medical aid does not, so anaethetist,etc.

  8. Elzet says:

    Have a look at our ‘What to Pack‘ article for info on packing your clinic bag.

  9. Elzet says:

    @Junior – Congrats on the pregnancy! It’s wise to go into this informed but important not to let the financial stress ruin this amazing experience for you. Try to save as much as you can but know that life just have a way of working out. It’s a good thing that a baby doesn’t really need that much: Love, milk, a nappy and some clothes. You can also save a lot by making your own baby food once your little one switch over to solids. Enjoy!

  10. Gadzi says:


    I’m 26 weeks pregnant and would like to know the approximate cost for a doula.

    Thanks for this informative website.

  11. SiGi says:

    Wow! what good info to share. I had called the hospitals and medical aid to do my calculations and all of this info is on the mark. Happy saving to everyone.

  12. Elzet says:

    You’re probably looking at about R1500-R2000 which should include
    a prenatal interview, 1 prenatal visit, support for the labour/birth and 1 postnatal visit.

  13. Hayley says:

    Hello, i had an emergency c section and was charged by two different anaethetists for my epidural amounting to R6500!!! First epidural was at 10 pm and then I had to go in for the emergency csection as my baby was in distress and they topped me up with epidural – has anyone else been charged like this or are they trying their luck?

  14. DAN says:


  15. John McCafferty says:

    My wife is from Madagascar, she has two children already born at home. It cost in the region of R150 per pregnancy.
    She now lives in South Africa and is due at the end of September 2013 with our third. Cost factor for the Bedfordview Hospital a mere R 42000 (R5000 deposit)
    This is a joke to say the least……
    It does not matter if you have medical aid or not, this is rediculous…..

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