Financial Considerations of an Unplanned Pregnancy: The Cost of Raising a Child
*Updated February 2017
One of the most important things to consider when facing an unplanned pregnancy is whether or not you are ready to parent a child. If you are unsure, try asking yourself the following: Are you fully able to provide for a baby at this time? Are you financially stable enough to fulfill your own life goals, and those for your child? Will you be able to balance both a career and a baby?
Having a baby is not simply a moment in time. Parenting itself is a lifelong commitment, requiring at least 18 years of steady support. If you are considering parenting, it is important that you also prepare for the expenses that may arise while raising a child.
A middle-income family with a baby born in 2015 can expect to spend about $233,610 on that child up until the age of 18. This figure does not include any costs before the birth (prenatal care), or any expenses after his or her eighteenth birthday (like a college education). According to the USDA, these are the top costs parents can expect to spend when raising a child:
- Housing: From rent to mortgage payments, utility bills to home furnishings, the expenses associated with housing a child account for an average of 30 percent of total child-rearing expenses.
- Childcare & Education: Childcare tuition and primary education costs are some of the most costly expenditures for families today. 18 percent of child-rearing costs include expenses such as babysitting, daycare, elementary school, high school, and educational supplies. If you choose to parent, consider who will help you take care of your child. Daycare costs an average of $11,666 annually. If you work 40 hours per week, you can expect nearly $6 of your hourly pay to go to daycare costs.
- Food & Formula: Many parents today struggle in providing their children with healthy meals that are also cost-effective. Food and baby formula can comprise up to 16 percent of total child-rearing expenses.
- Clothing & Diapers: As babies get bigger, so will their need for new clothes and shoes. This is why it is so important to prepare yourself, especially for the first few years. Those are often some of the most expensive. On average, an infant will use 100 diapers a week. This means that diapers can cost up to $1,000 per year. While government assistance can occasionally cover food costs, diapers remain an out of pocket expense.
- Health Care: Medical expenses can get costly when raising a child. As a parent, you will consistently need to pay for pediatric checkups, vaccinations, shots, insurance, and any medications following your child’s birth.
Parenting involves a great deal of savings and financial preparation. While the expenses above are the most significant, they still do not cover every single financial requirement of raising a child. As an expectant parent, you should also consider your means of transportation, the costs of personal care items (haircuts, toothbrushes), entertainment (computers, televisions, toys), and extracurricular activities (dance classes, music lessons, sports leagues, etc.).
Try to be honest in evaluating your life both now and in the future. If you decide that your current income is not enough to support a family, you are not alone. One of the most common reasons an expectant mother chooses not to parent is a result of financial instability. Child-rearing expenses only continue to grow, making parenting seem less of an option for women facing an unplanned pregnancy. Like you, each expectant mother still wants what is best for her baby. That is why many choose to place their children in adoptive homes, where financial security is ensured and opportunities are endless.
If you decide that adoption is right for you and your baby, financial assistance through an agency is available. At Adoptions With Love, we will assist you financially during your pregnancy and following the placement of your child. Hospital bills and the cost of delivery can add up quickly. We can help with any medical expenses that are not covered by insurance. We will also assist with maternity related expenses such as:
- Electricity, air conditioning, and other utilities
- Maternity clothing
- Medical bills
- General living expenses
Do not be afraid to ask us for help. We will work hard to assure all of your needs are met, and to provide you with constant, stable support throughout your journey.
For more information on how to deal with unplanned pregnancy, download our comprehensive guide here:
If you would like to speak with an adoption professional about your feelings, your concerns, or to start your own adoption plan today, call Adoptions With Love toll-free at1-800-722-7731.