An unplanned pregnancy comes with all sorts of unfamiliar territory. You’re feeling emotions you’ve never experienced, and facing some of the hardest decisions you’ll have to make in your lifetime. Plus, you have to make the practical decisions – how to support yourself during pregnancy, how to continue working if you need to, and how to make sure your baby has a safe home when he or she comes into the world.
No one can make these decisions for you, but there are resources available to help. These are the steps you can take to financially prepare for pregnancy:
Find out what insurance will cover. While you’re pregnant, you’ll have many doctor’s appointments, prenatal vitamins and medications, and other responsibilities that take both time and money. Luckily, insurance companies will cover some of these costs for you. If you are uninsured, there are still options available. You can talk to your healthcare providers about payment plans, or contact the Department of Health and Human Services for financial aid.
Plan ahead for maternity leave. You’ll need to take time off work and/or school the last few weeks or months of your pregnancy. You’ll also need to take time off after the baby is born, even if you choose an adoption plan. This might mean a struggle to financially support yourself, or extra hours at work for your family. But, if you start saving now you’ll have what you need when the time comes to stay home. There are also programs for lower-income mothers and families, if it comes closer to time and you’re unsure.
Rework your budget. Your monthly budget will change when you’re pregnant. You’ll need more supplies, your insurance rates might change, and need to save for more unexpected costs. This may mean tightening your budget a little, or changing parts of your pregnancy plan to accommodate your needs now and in the future. Spend time working on your budget with the partner or family member who’s helping you through this.
Start to build an emergency fund. Pregnancies never go as planned, no matter who you are. Hopefully, you’ll be the mom with no complications during pregnancy, but it’s better to have the peace of mind that if something comes up, you’ll have it covered. A small emergency fund is better than nothing at all. Even a few hundred dollars in savings can save you if you have a high co-pay on one bill, or need to take a trip to meet potential adoptive parents.
Ask for help. Of course, the most important thing for you to remember at this time is to ask for help when you need it. Whether that’s to find a new place to live, or for advice on how to plan ahead, you need support from friends, family, and an adoption counselor.
If you’re having trouble with financial planning for pregnancy, talk to someone at Birthmother’s Choice. We are here to lend a helping hand.