One recurring question everyone considering having kids asks is: how much does it really cost to have a baby. There are tons of hospital visits, tests and procedures. All of these things cost money and for the most part, a lot of Nigerians don’t have insurance. 

For this aritcle, I spoke to six Nigerian parents and we attempted to break down what they spent on hospital bills and related expenses from conception to delivery. 

Nike, 31

“The hospital was okay but they were money-hungry and didn’t hide it. They billed us for medication even though we didn’t get them from their pharmacy. We spent close to ₦800k on hospital bills, and my husband and I paid for everything because neither of our employers provided health insurance. My babies are fine and healthy. No amount of money is too much for this kind of blessing.”

Antenatal care: I registered at a public-private partnership hospital in Abuja and paid ₦60k to see a senior registrar. It would have been ₦40k if I saw a Medical Officer and ₦100k for a consultant. The fees covered the routine checks, basic urine tests and blood screening. I paid an extra ₦6k for an EKG.

Childbirth: My twins were delivered through C-section, and the hospital charged ₦375k for that — it covered fees for the procedure, disposables, medication, and my four-day stay at the maternity ward. Before the surgery, we paid ₦12k to screen my husband’s blood to confirm it was okay for me if I needed a blood transfusion. I spent four days in the maternity ward, but my basic bill we’d paid took care of covered that.

After the delivery, the kids were transferred to the NICU/Neonatal ward, and we paid ₦235k for their care. There were additional tests — I don’t remember the total bill for those but I know one of them ran into ₦15k. I spent four days at the nursing mum’s room while my babies were at the NICU, but I wasn’t charged for that because the hospital had overbilled me.

Postnatal care: We didn’t spend extra at the hospital for postnatal care. The antenatal and delivery costs covered the 6-week postpartum routine checks, and I was fine. We would have had to pay for family planning, but I didn’t get on any birth control plan until much later. 

Chinenye, 28

“I feel privileged to experience pregnancy and childbirth. Every day was a learning curve, so I learned to cry when I felt like and celebrate the milestones and wins. “

Antenatal care: I registered at a private hospital in Lagos. Registration was ₦10k. Each routine visit to the hospital after that cost me ₦5k — consultation and tests. There were 11 of those, so that sums up to about ₦55k. The drugs I used from conception to delivery cost about ₦46k. I also fell ill one or two times during the course of my pregnancy and had to go to the hospital, but I don’t remember how much went into those. 

Childbirth: The delivery fee was ₦50k, which is fair for a private facility. The hospital gave me a list of supplies to bring with me and the total cost of that was about ₦20k. I spent five nights at the hospital after I had the baby, and bedspace was ₦5k per night, so that was ₦25k. 

Postnatal care: We noticed mild jaundice in my baby and ran some tests, which cost ₦12k. In hindsight, that was unnecessary because it cleared within 3 days. 

During delivery, I had lacerations and episiotomy, and that resulted in a lot of hospital visits for another year because the cuts didn’t heal as fast as they should have. 

Also, I followed the immunisation schedule for two years. We weren’t charged for the ones given at birth. Subsequently, we paid for those, although the cost was subsidised. Each immunisation visit cost between ₦2 and ₦5k. This ran into about 45k. 

Precious, 26

“It was a peaceful journey. My family members were supportive and guided me through every step. It was also a rollercoaster of emotions.”

Antenatal care: I registered at a private hospital in Lokoja, and the ₦40k fees covered my routine hospital visits and tests, two ultrasound scans and drugs. I bought 8 packs of Pregnacare at ₦5200 per pack, so that was ₦41,600.

Childbirth: The hospital gave us a list of things to buy in preparation for delivery, and about ₦40k went into that. The delivery fee was ₦40k, but I paid an additional ₦50k for an epidural. 

Postnatal care:

We weren’t charged extra for this. The delivery fee covered for up to two weeks of postnatal check-up. Circumcision was bill, and we paid ₦5k for it.

Juliana, 34

“The whole experience took me by surprise. I always thought it couldn’t be that bad. But when I got sick in my first trimester, I realised that it was a big deal. My husband did his best, but I went through hell. I was the one who felt everything — the fear, the anxiety, and the love-hate relationship I had with the baby at that point.”

Antenatal care: The registration fee at the first hospital was ₦160k. During the time I was there, I fell sick and my husband and I spent ₦92k on the treatment of Hyperemesis Gravidarum, Malaria, and Swelling. We left the hospital after three weeks because the staff was grossly unprofessional — one of the nurses pulled my husband aside and told him that she suspects that I may have cheated, and that was why I became ill.

We spent ₦138k at the second hospital, and I was registered there for only a month. There were more complications and I wasn’t getting better. I couldn’t keep anything down and started losing a lot of weight. My husband was terrified and he thought it was best to transfer me to another hospital. The cost of hospitalisation, treatment of complications, monthly routine checkups and medication bills at the third hospital ran into ₦224k. My baby was delivered there. 

Childbirth: ₦86k. We paid ₦15k for vaginal delivery. ₦30k for the episiotomy. ₦26,500 for supplies and ₦14,500 for medication. 

Postnatal care: Post-natal care at the hospital cost us ₦0k. And there was an additional ₦7k for circumcision. 

Charles, 31

“Children are expensive.”

Antenatal care: We registered my wife at a federal hospital and paid ₦50k for antenatal care and a ₦50k deposit. That was supposed to be it, but there were some complications around the time my wife was due and her blood pressure was high. The hospital wasn’t being serious about it, so we transferred to a private hospital. It was an emergency, and my wife’s and the baby’s lives are more important than money.

Childbirth: The baby was delivered through C-section at the private hospital and the bill ran into ₦450k: ₦250k for the procedure, ₦100k for blood transfusion, and ₦100k for her 5-day stay at the hospital. There was also an extra ₦20k for an ultrasound scan. 

Postnatal care: The baby had jaundice and we spent ₦50k on that. It was supposed to be ₦100k but the doctor gave us a discount. The first immunization cost ₦10k. After that, we returned to the federal hospital because most immunisation there are subsidised to the barest minimum in the first six months. Other rounds of immunisations since that time has ranged between ₦5k and ₦12k, and the total cost should be about ₦50k now. 

Funmi, 27

The whole experience was a mix of overlapping emotions for me — daunting, sad, exciting, overwhelming. 

Antenatal care: I had just graduated from school when I got pregnant, and I had little income. I registered at a government hospital close to my parent’s house and that was ₦5k. It covered the registration card, routine checks, and drugs. The experience wasn’t great though — the service was slow and the nurses were shitty. The check-ups weren’t thorough, and if I complained about pain or discomfort, they dismissed it. Also, every time I went, I took ₦500 with me. I assumed that was for the medication I was given. 

In my third trimester, there was a complication. I was having bad contractions and bleeding,  and it looked like my baby was going to be delivered prematurely. That would have been a disaster because I couldn’t afford the cost of incubators. I was eventually admitted to the hospital, and I spent ₦25k

Childbirth: I was induced into labour. If the hospital hadn’t done that, my baby would have been delivered through C-section, and that was about ₦150k at the hospital. I paid ₦40k for delivery and medication. 

Postnatal care: The vaccine at the hospital was supposed to be free, but they asked me to pay ₦500 for it. I stayed at the hospital for three days and paid ₦1k daily for bedspace. Three weeks after I left the hospital, I fell sick and returned to the hospital. I spent ₦11k this time. 

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