What birth really costs in South Africa


This story was written in 2013. For a more recent estimate, see How much does it cost to have a baby in South Africa? (updated 2017).

Falling pregnant can be one of the most amazing experiences a woman has the privilege of living through. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most expensive.

Gynae visits, scans and birthing classes can be a huge burden on the average person's pocket through a normal pregnancy. That cost increases drastically if there are complications involved.

Once the big day arrives, whether you're choosing a natural birth or C-section, there are a whole new set of costs you have to consider. If you're choosing to give birth in a government facility and depending on what you earn, your costs may be very low, even free. If you're wanting to go the private route, prepare yourself for quite a bit of spending.

The expensive reality

According to the cost breakdown provided by Mediclinic, a natural birth (for the first day) will cost you over R9000. If you'd like an epidural with that, it'll cost you almost R2000 extra. If you're planning to stay a little longer and need the nursery, the cost is just over R3000 extra per day.

For C-section moms, the first day of confinement will have you forking out almost R13000. You too will need to pay just over R3000 for every extra day you need to stay at the hospital.

Those are just the basic costs. You can find out more from Mediclinic's private tariff schedule.

First-hand experience

We know that bringing your baby into the world can be very costly and we wanted to know what our readers had to fork out for the occasion. We took to Facebook and asked 'how much did giving birth to your children cost you?'

  • For my premature twins my medical aid paid more than R1,2 million. They spent almost 3 months in hospital NICU. Yanga
  • Medical aid paid R40 000. Carmen
  • My newborn was in ICU for 31 days, due to heart and breathing complications. Momentum Health paid everything - R280 000 (this was 7 years ago). Lianca
  • R8000 out of our pocket... Even with medical aid. Shaun
  • First baby FREE at Government MOU clinic. I got fantastic service. Second baby on Medical Aid - R80k. He was born sick and needed to stay there for a bit. I had a normal birth. Julia
  • I had 4 babies (all separate) at a Netcare hospital with medical aid. Between firstborn (in 2007) and last born (2013) the price went from around R15000 to R23000. To be fair, last born spent 4 days in NICU. Cathrine
  • I have one child and it cost me R13000 for everything, including my 4 day hospital stay! Angela

Many moms don't pay a cent as they gave birth at a government hospital and many are happy with the help they receive. Don't rule out the government hospitals where you live, but always visit the facilities beforehand.

The alternative route

Of course you could always choose to home birth. Not sure? Check out the personal stories and videos below.

Beautiful natural birth videos

How safe is home birth?

Home birth for dads

Watch: An unassisted home birth

Share your birthing experiences with us! Send them to chatback@parent24.com and we may publish them.

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