Finding out that you’re pregnant can put one in a whirlwind of emotions. After all, there’s nothing more surprising than being a parent for the first time. Initially, all you can think about is the moment when you can finally hold your baby in your arms, but sooner or later, other stressing factors can come creeping up—maternity costs, for one.

If you’re planning to have baby or are still yet to take a pregnancy test, you’ll want to make sure that you are well-equipped for the oncoming expenses that you will face sooner or later. It’s no fallacy that having a baby in the United States isn’t cheap, but being aware of the costs can best help you prepare for them ahead of time.

The Price of Pregnancy

How much do you really have to shell out to deliver a baby in the U.S.? The truth is: There is no firm number to give. The price for prenatal healthcare and delivery can vary radically and will depend on many different factors, such as where you live, whether you have an insurance, whether you have any complications, or the type of birth – vaginal birth or Caesarean section – you end up with.

To give you an idea, an entire pregnancy up to the actual delivery can range from $9,000 to $250,000 without insurance, more or less. It sure is quite a range, but know that the costs of having a baby can vary from family to family.

Your Type of Birth

Whether you get a vaginal delivery or a C-section can mean a huge difference in your hospital bill, which can amount to an average difference of $1,900 to $2,600. According the numbers given by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, the average price of vaginal births can reach up to $2,600 without complications while C-sections can cost up to $4,500.

Unlike a vaginal delivery, a C-section is considered a major operation, which involves higher morbidity and mortality instances, longer hospital stays, and therefore, more dollars spent. However, a vaginal delivery can become expensive if complications are involved. If a vaginal delivery requires an operating room procedure, delivery can cost families and insurance companies roughly about $6,900.

The Cost of a Healthy Pregnancy

Here’s a major tip to stay on top of your maternity expenses: Make your health and your baby’s health a top priority. It’s easy to get excited about making that first purchase for your baby, but the importance of prenatal healthcare apparently trumps everything else. Women who suspect that they may be pregnant needs to schedule a visit to a trusted doctor to begin prenatal care as soon as possible.

Aside from being informed about their pregnancy, soon-to-be moms can best benefit from preconception and prenatal care as it reduces the risk of complications during pregnancy as well as on the fetus’ or the infant’s health.

If you have health insurance, prenatal visits and certain diagnostic tests, such as an ultrasound with transducer cables, will likely be paid for under the category of “preventive” care. Without health insurance, prenatal care costs can reach up to $2,000. Aside from doctor’s appointments and screening tests, expectant mothers should also allot a budget for prenatal vitamins, which are vital to the mother’s and the child’s health during pregnancy. Vitamins should cost about $10 to $20.

Shopping for Your Newborn

Another expense that will take a huge chunk on your maternity budget would have to be shopping for baby supplies. This can be overwhelming if you’re a first-time parent. With the myriad of baby essentials and equipment that you see in the market, it’s difficult to resist missing out on one. After all, you only wish to offer the best for your baby.

To save on expenses, the trick is to filter out those items that are must-haves for you and your baby. Some basic supplies to shop first include a car seat, diapers and wipes, a crib and changing table, and a few baby clothes. If you shop for bargains, it’s possible to score all these for about $450. Another tip is to avoid splurging on baby clothes, as babies can outgrow them in a snap. To save you on clothing expenses, you can ask around for hand-me-downs from relatives and friends.

Getting Insured

Prenatal healthcare and hospital bills during delivery can really take up the bulk of your maternity budget. To help buffer the weight of the costs, you may consider getting a health insurance once you’ve done enough research and weighed your options.

At the end of the day, no one is ever truly prepared to become a parent—but we can be prepared, at least financially, by spending wisely and investing on the right things ahead of time.