Stress during pregnancy due to financial challenges

Pregnant women often worry about financial challenges ahead.

In fact, financial worries are an important and common cause of stress during pregnancy.

Undoubtedly, the pregnancy, birth, postpartum care and raising a child could be expensive.

According to a study in USA, it was estimated that on an average, middle-income married couples spend $233,610 on raising a child through 17 years of age.

In many parts of the world, pregnant women have to pay for antenatal and postnatal care (and all necessary medications if required).

Sometimes, income might go down for working women if they would choose to have longer maternity leave or going part-time on their return to work.

Many women may even lose their job due to pregnancy discrimination or leave their jobs to facilitate childcare.

Common expenses include:

1. Buying prenatal vitamins

2. Maternity clothing

3. Nursery furniture

4. Car seat

5. Nappies/ clothing/ toys and other accessories

6. Pram/ Stroller

7. Childcare

Plan your finances

With better financial planning and preparation during pregnancy, it could be possible to deal with the challenges in a much better way.

1. Track your expenses.

2. Spend wisely on clothing, furniture and other baby accessories.

3. Explore any maternity benefits/ grants you are entitled to, in the country you live in.

4. Avoid signing up to big loans etc. during pregnancy or immediately postpartum.

5. If you are struggling with a debt, then speak to a qualified adviser or discuss with the lender regarding the possibility of any flexible payment plans.

Ensure self-care

In spite of proper planning, money worries can still be overwhelming during pregnancy and an after the childbirth.

Difficult times do pass. So, please take a step back and ensure that you are looking after yourself in this vital period of life.

1. Discuss and share your worries with your partner or a family member or friend you trust.

2. Ensure you are taking time to exercise, rest and participate in some relaxation activities. Also, have regular meals and healthy diet.

3. Avoid smoking and alcohol to cope with stress. They are not only harmful during pregnancy, but also may make the financial situation worse.

4. If possible, avoid working extra hours to increase income during pregnancy. It could put additional strain on your physical and mental health and worsen work-related stress.

Effect of financial strain on pregnancy outcome

Research suggests that psychological stress due to financial difficulties may result in low-birth-weight babies. However, more studies are required to get robust evidence on this matter.

So, please do not get too concerned if you are feeling overwhelmed with financial worries.

You are not alone as anxiety related to financial situation is very common among pregnant women all across the world.

Maternity discrimination does not help anyone

Many pregnant women face unacceptable discrimination at work. Sometimes, they are demoted, declined a pay rise/ bonus or promotion or dismissed or treated so badly that they do not have any other choice but to leave work.

Moreover, such discrimination also increases work-related stress and related sickness.

As a result, many women experience a significant reduction in income during or after pregnancy. For example, women collectively lose about £113 million/ year in the UK during this period.

However, employers also incur a significant financial loss for treating pregnant women with discrimination.

For example, British businesses lose £280 million/ UK due to a loss of productivity, new recruitments (to replace the employee) and training new recruits.

This huge cost is over and above the expenses for employment tribunals and damage to reputation and compensation paid for improper dismissals.

A pregnancy and family-friendly workplace can not only save financial loss (both for the employees and employers) but also improve productivity and progress of the society both in short and long-term.