Can You Afford to Have a Baby?

How much does it cost for pregnancy and delivery? Know how much it costs and plan for your maternity. Give your baby the best head start your child deserves.

If you are newly married and attend a family gathering with your relatives, aunties and uncles, you may start getting questions about having your first baby.

“Is a baby coming soon? or
“Already married for three years. Still no baby?” or
“When can I see my first grandchild?”

Responses such as “We are planning for next year or the year after” may temporarily put the subject to rest. But a crucial part of family planning has do with the financial aspects of it.

“Can we afford to have a baby?” or
“Is our income sufficient to cover the expenses of a baby?”

Money though important is not the sole consideration in starting a family. But, preparing yourself and knowing the numbers beforehand is putting your future child as a priority to give your baby the best start he or she can get in the world. Welcoming your newborn will be less stressful knowing you have taken care of the finances. This article will cover the cost of having a baby all the way from pregnancy to your baby’s first birthday.

 

Prenatal and Delivery

How much will it cost from pregnancy until birth?

Plan early for the changes in your household finances before you decide to have a baby. Even if the pregnancy is unplanned, start planning the moment you find out until the pregnancy.

To help you in your planning, get to know the standard medical treatments during pregnancy (prenatal), delivery and postnatal and the estimated cost:

Prenatal

A period of regular checkups – monthly in earlier stages and bi-weekly as delivery nears. This includes screening tests including ultrasound scans, bloodwork, and screening for genetic abnormalities. Every trimester requires different tests. Screening tests can discover an illness or a condition in a pregnancy before it creates serious problems, and lead to early-intervention treatment if available.

Delivery/Birth

D-Day. Delivery is either normal or caesarean section (c-section). Major costs include specialists fees (obstetrician/gynaecologist, paediatrician, anesthesiologist), anesthesia and epidural (if used), hospital room charges, surgical fee, nursery fees, laboratory fees, or any medications or supplies required.

So, what are the costs for all these expenses at prenatal and delivery?

The below table summarises the estimated costs during pregnancy and birth at a government and a private hospital respectively.

Major CostsGovernment HospitalPrivate Hospital
Normal monthly checkups before deliveryRM3,000
Various pregnancy tests/scansRM1,000
Normal deliveryRM60 – RM2,000RM3,000 – RM10,000
C-Section deliveryRM100 – RM800RM6,000 – RM15,000
C-Section (emergency)Up to RM20,000

The above costs covers basics and with no complications on the pregnancy.

Other services which you may be subjected to:-

  • Epidural administration to reduce delivery pain
  • Assisted delivery and birth induction
  • Lab and nursery fees

Maternity Costs

How much do you need to pay for related maternity costs?

Maternity Insurance

Maternity insurance is lacking in Malaysia. Most insurers with maternity benefits only give a small lump sum for delivery, or only pay out for complications on mother or child. There are clauses as well which exclude pre-conditions so do read the fine print carefully.

Employee Benefits

Many companies provide maternity related benefits or help cover maternity expenses for executives to attract and retain talent. Different companies will have different policies and benefits including extended maternity leave or even covering all pregnancy-related expenses including complications. Do check with your Human Resource Department on the details.

Self Payment

Most Malaysians will need to cover the bulk of maternity and delivery expenses themselves. Many parents prefer delivering in the comfort of a private hospital. There is also a growing demand for Full Paying Patient (FPP) services which provides private healthcare in government hospitals.

A suggestion is to use the nine months pregnancy period to build up your funds. Every month, save a fixed amount equivalent to the total cost of medical expenses up to birthing and then divided by nine months.

A methods to reduce expenses is to make use of local government clinics and hospitals. For example, Klinik Kesihatan Ibu & Anak, an initiative by the government which provides free checkups and anti-tetanus injection for the mother-to-be.  The trade off is potentially longer queues and wait times.

Post Delivery

What are the costs needed for the next 12 months?

Confinement Care

Confinement care for the new mother and baby is common in Malaysia for a period of 1 to 3 months. Options include:-

  • Live in confinement care lady: RM5,000 above monthly and typically requires early booking
  • Mother at confinement centre: RM2,000 above monthly
  • Mother cared at home by mother/in-law/family: free (sort of)

Besides cost savings, having help from one’s own family does give the new parents additional comfort that the baby will be more likely to receive genuine tender loving care.

Paediatrician Visits

Your baby must come back almost every month to the hospital for regular checkups and various immunisation jabs. Some jabs are compulsory and some are optional but do be educated (and avoid the fallacies of internet quack medical nonsense). Each visit to a private paediatrician will cost you between RM70 – RM150.

Vaccination Schedule (Source: Ministry of Health Malaysia)

AgeVaccination
NewbornBacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG)

1st dose: Hepatitis B (HepB)

1 month2nd dose: Hepatitis B
2 months1st dose:

– Diptheria, Tetanus, accellular Pertussis (DTaP)

– Haemophilus influenzae b (Hib)

– Inactivated Poliovirus (IPV)

3 months2nd dose:
– DTaP– Hib– IPV
5 months3rd dose:

– DTP

– Hib

– IPV

6 months3rd dose: Hepatitis B

Measles (Sabah only)

10 months1st Dose: Japanese Encephalitis (JE) (Sarawak only)
12 months1st dose: Mumps, Measles, Rubella (MMR)

2nd dose: Japanese Encephalitis (Sarawak only)

18 months4th dose:

– DTP

– Hib

– IPV

3rd dose: JE (Sarawak only)

4 years old4th dose: JE (Sarawak only)
7 years old– BCG (option only if no scar found)

– Diptheria, Tetanus  (DT booster)

– 2nd dose of MMR

13 years oldHuman papillomavirus (HPV) with 3 doses within 6 months

(2nd dose 1 month after 1st dose, 3rd dose 6 months after 1st dose)

15 years oldTetanus (TT)

 

Baby Care

After the maternity leave is over, someone needs to care for your baby if both you and spouse are working. Your options include:-

  • Hire a babysitter
    Depending on your lifestyle, you can opt for a daytime or overnight babysitting services. A daytime babysitter looks after your baby while you are working. Whereas an overnight babysitter cares for the baby from Monday to Friday night, and the parents only care for the baby over the weekend
    Cost: RM12,000 – RM16,000 per annum
  • Employ a maid
    A maid may or may not have the requisite experience and skills to care for your baby especially when your. It it however an option, especially if you have other family members around at home but are not able to care for your baby alone.
    Cost: Upfront fee of RM14,000 to the agency, and maid salary RM700-RM1,000 monthly (excluding food and accommodation)
  • Grandparents/Family
    Again nothing compares to your own flesh and blood helping to care and teach your baby
    Cost: Give-lar a reasonable monthly amount that more than covers food and other costs

 

Other Needs

Below details other common costs to give the best to your baby.

  • Stroller: RM300 above
  • Car seat: RM300 above
  • Crib: RM300 above
  • Playpen: RM200 above
  • High chair: RM50 above
  • Changing table: RM100 above
  • Diapers: RM1,200 annually
  • Clothes: RM600 annually
  • Baby formula/milk: RM2,500 annually
  • Breast pump: RM600 above
  • Solid food: RM600 above annually

 

Summary: Raising Baby

To summarise, below are the total relevant cost estimates.

Prenatal and delivery:

  • Government Hospital: RM1,000 above
  • FPP Services: RM5,000 above
  • Private Hospital: RM10,000 above

Post delivery:

  • 1st year: RM18,000 above (own care); RM30,000 above (with help)
  • 2nd year onwards: RM12,000 above (excluding help)

Share your advice and ask questions on raising a baby.

Eric Kiang
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Eric Kiang

Writer at MyPF
Eric is a qualified chartered accountant since 1992 and a member of Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA). He received his Diploma in Financial Accounting from TAR College and subsequently professional accountancy from ACCA.

He has 25 years working experience in different finance-related jobs. He is now a consultant, and personal finance and business writer. His main goal is to help and educate non-finance professionals to understand and solve their personal finances problems. He believes everyone should be financially literate because everything we do has money implications!

Eric currently resides in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with his wife and two young children.
Eric Kiang
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Latest posts by Eric Kiang

Eric Kiang

Eric Kiang

Eric is a qualified chartered accountant since 1992 and a member of Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA). He received his Diploma in Financial Accounting from TAR College and subsequently professional accountancy from ACCA.He has 25 years working experience in different finance-related jobs. He is now a consultant, and personal finance and business writer. His main goal is to help and educate non-finance professionals to understand and solve their personal finances problems. He believes everyone should be financially literate because everything we do has money implications!Eric currently resides in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with his wife and two young children.

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