To top

The cost of giving birth in a private medical setting

What can new parents expect to pay for bringing a baby into the world, if choosing to go the private medical route? We outline important considerations, and indicate costs.

18 April 2024 · Helen Ueckermann

The cost of giving birth in a private medical setting

The cost of giving birth in a private medical setting depends on various factors; not least the type of delivery you opt for.

Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, chief clinical officer at Discovery Health, offers advice for making safe and well-informed choices.

Tip: A personal loan can help cover medical costs if you’re uninsured or have an insurance shortfall.

Focus on the baby’s health first

Consider whether you wish to use a midwife or a doctor to assist at the birth, whether you’d rather be in a hospital or at home, and if you’d prefer a natural birth or a Caesarean section (C-section), Nematswerani advises.

However, be aware that, whatever your preferences, the baby’s health is paramount and must override all other considerations.

“Whatever their wish, expectant mothers should seek guidance from their obstetrician on the safest and most appropriate birth option,” she cautions. “This will be based on their medical history and pregnancy journey.” 

Ensure you’re adequately covered

It’s essential to ensure you have medical cover before you become pregnant, Nematswerani says.

She warns that “open” medical schemes, meaning those that are not restricted to workers in specific sectors, may apply condition-specific waiting periods of up to a year when a member joins for the first time, or has had a break in membership.

Rules may vary, so consult the medical scheme you wish to join or rejoin, to ensure you understand the conditions.

Also, be aware that medical schemes may not automatically cover all costs, Nematswerani cautions.

Costs that are generally not included are mother-and-baby packs provided at hospitals, the bed-booking fee, and lodging fees if the baby needs to stay in the hospital for longer than is covered, and the mother chooses to stay on, she says.

“Should you choose to give birth in a hospital that is not part of the medical scheme network, a co-payment is also usually levied,” Nematswerani adds.

Be informed regarding the costs involved

Discovery Health provides the following average costs for private birthing.

Birthing option Average cost
Emergency C-section R57,154
Elective C-section R52,322
Natural birth, with epidural R38,288
Natural birth, no epidural R30,220
Homebirth with a registered midwife R10,574
Midwife-led birth at a birth centre R16,000

Source: Discovery Health Medical Scheme data

Nematswerani notes that the cost of a natural birth includes:        

  • Obstetric procedure
  • Consultations with doctors, nurses, and other health professionals
  • Ward fees
  • Blood tests
  • Medication
  • Epidural (if applicable)
  • Birthing pool (if applicable) 

The cost of a C-section includes:

  • Obstetric procedure
  • Consultations
  • Anaesthetist
  • Ward fees
  • Blood tests
  • Medication

It’s essential to check with your medical scheme which costs are covered, and whether there are co-payments, and to plan accordingly.

Tip: Saving for a rainy day is vital for your financial wellness learn more about savings and investments.

Make good money choices - join 250,000 South Africans who get our free weekly newsletter! Join the community →
JustMoney logo  
5th Floor, 11 Adderley Street, Cape Town, 8001

© Copyright 2009 - 2024 
Terms & Conditions  ·  Privacy Policy

Quick links

Your credit score is ready!

View your total debt balance and accounts, get a free debt assessment, apply for a personal loan, and receive unlimited access to a coach – all for FREE with JustMoney.

Show me!