Having a baby is a wonderful experience for most couples. When the surprise, elation and fear have died down a bit, the time comes to think about the impact of having a baby on life and future.

Do you have insurance?
Having a baby comes with a long list of bills and financial needs. If you have no medical insurance, check with the local state health department for possible health care coverage. Many states offer free health care to children. Even if you make too much money for the Medicaid program there are state programs with higher income limits. For instance, in the state of North Carolina the Health Choice program has an upper limit of about $5,000 a month.

Do you have the finances?
Having money saved up is a great choice before having a baby, but once you are pregnant there is very little time to save. Look at your personal finances and take an inventory of the money you have on hand and the money you would like to save. Cut back on unnecessary household bills to save more. It is always better to have more money saved than less as financial stress can impact the family structure greatly when having a baby.

Do you qualify for WIC?
The Women’s, Infants and Children’s program (WIC) is open for anyone to apply. The guidelines can be found on the official government website. WIC pays for food when mom is pregnant and formula (if bottle feeding) after having a baby. Coverage can continue until baby turns five years old.

Will you have enough space after having a baby?
Some couples live in a single bedroom apartment before having a baby. While that space will be just fine for the first year, or so of life, more space will be needed in the near future. If you are leasing, what are the details of the lease? If you have a one-year lease, start saving now to move out when the lease has expired.

Have you considered medical care?
Having a baby is about more than carrying the fetus and giving birth. You need an obstetrician to “watch” your pregnancy along the way. Most mothers have an uneventful pregnancy, but there is always the chance there could be a hiccup along the way that requires medical attention or insight.

Having a baby is a beautiful time in life, but one that is not without concern. Life changes come on fast when a couple is having a baby, so plan well and prepare for the day when having a baby turns into had a baby.