Having a baby in a private hospital in South Africa can be a costly affair. Depending on which private hospital you choose to have your baby and the rates of your obstetrician-gynaecologist, anaesthetist and paediatrician, you can expect the final bill to be as much as R45,000. Even if you have medical aid, you may still have to fork out several thousands from your own pocket.

Medical aids in South Africa do pay for childbirth delivery costs. However, your scheme may not cover the rates of private doctors/specialists, whom these days charge significantly higher cash rates. While you can be assured that you and your baby will be covered for the hospital’s bills in full on medical aid, you have to be cautious about the bills from all the doctors involved.

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Caesarean Section (C-Section)

Many women now opt to have a caesarean section (C-section) at the time of their choosing, usually during or just after the 37th week of pregnancy. Elective caesareans as it is known are technically not covered by medical aid since it is a procedure of choice but most schemes do cover it. However, it is a significantly more expensive childbirth delivery route than a natural birth. The costs of the theatre, anaesthetic and so on can add greatly to the final bill.

Doctor’s Bills

There are three medical specialists who are involved during the childbirth and for baby’s aftercare. This includes the gynaecologist-obstetrician who performs the procedure, the anaesthetist who administers the anaesthetic and the paediatrician who tends to baby immediately after delivery in the operating theatre. Sometimes an assistant gynaecologist may also be present. Your medical aid will pay around R5,000 for the gynaecologist-obstetrician, about R2,000 for the anaesthetist and approximately R1,000 for the paediatrician.

However, the specialists may charge their own rates. It is not uncommon for a gynaecologist-obstetrician to charge around R12,000 for a C-section, the anaesthetist may request R5,000 and the paediatrician may bill you around R2,000. These private rates differ among practitioners and some specialists will gladly accept the medical aid rate.

Hospital Rates

Most private hospitals in South Africa do not charge rates higher than what your medical aid pays for childbirth and delivery. The first day of confinement costs around R12,000 and the final bill for baby and mother may come close to R40,000. It is for a standard 3 day stay for the mother in the general maternity ward and for baby in the nursery.

Mothers who do not have medical aid should enquire about special maternity packages at the private hospital of their choice. These packages often cost less than the medical aid rates but usually has to be paid upfront prior to delivery.

Baby Care Costs

Baby’s stay in a private hospital immediately after birth is not extremely costly if baby is in good health. However, should the newborn baby need special medical attention in high care or the neonatal ICU then the bill can be significantly higher. Here as well your medical aid will pay for baby’s stay in high care or neonatal ICU, with the latter costing as much as R16,000 per day depending on the level of care needed.

Without medical aid, many parents may be unable to afford high care or neonatal ICU for their baby. It is therefore important that parents financially prepare themselves for the possible costs of having baby stay in hospital longer than expected. Mothers are usually discharged three days after giving birth. Should mothers wish to stay on while baby is high care or neonatal ICU, then the bill rests on the mother to settle in cash. Medical aids do not cover this longer stay for mothers.

48 Thoughts on “Childbirth Delivery Costs in South Africa”

    • Hi Leigh-Ann. We were not too sure whether you are referring to medical aid cover for your pregnancy or private hospital admission. If you are enquiring about medical aid cover while being 12 weeks pregnant, then no you will not be covered for this pregnancy if you sign up for cover now. Of course you can still sign up for medical aid. If you are referring to a private hospital taking you in then yes you will be allowed and in fact you can pre-authorise your admission much later in your pregnancy. The hospital will accept you provided that you pay the required amount (if you do not have medical aid) as long as they have space at the expected time.

  • I am 10 weeks pregnant and just lost my job.
    I have attended gynecologist ones, with my medical aid.

    I can not continue with medical aid and my main concern is to give birth at private hospital. I’m scared and very stressful when I think of going to our public hospital.

    Will I be covered if I join now, will I be able to deliver at private hospital?

    • Hi Evelyn. You need to speak to the medical aid that you wish to join. If you were a member of your previous medical aid for more than 12 months and you have only left them very recently then you may be able to join a new scheme and be covered for this pregnancy. A lot depends on the time factor here so you need to discuss this in depth with the new medical aid and get all the details in writing.

  • Good day. Thank you for the informative article. We are currently pregnant and total estimate costs ads up to R 55 000 all inclusive (Excluding Pediatrician) at Midstream Mediclinic.

    The thing I am wondering about is the pediatrician. I am on Discovery and have already informed them of the birth, although the mother is not on medical aid. In my opinion, the pediatrician should be paid for by the medical aid since they only start working once the baby is born, making him / her a patient and not part of the mother anymore.

    Is my opinion one that is valid?

    • Hi Paul. The paediatrician would be paid by the medical aid if the mother was also covered by medical aid. Newborns are automatically covered in that case. However, in your case it may be complicated since the mother is not covered. Therefore by adding the newborn on your cover it is essentially the same as signing up a new member and a waiting period may then apply. Speak to your medical aid again. It may be possible to sign up the mother on your medical aid cover now and have the baby automatically covered at birth (mother’s birth costs for this pregnancy will not be covered by the scheme). You may also want to follow up with the Council of Medical Schemes if you feel that you are being treated unfairly.

      • I refer to ur response to Paul July 6. I am paying privately for the birth at Origin maternity hospital. I have signed up at discovery after I was pregnant already so me and baby is covered by the time he’s born. I’m due 6 Nov and I started my medical aid Aug 1. 3 months standard no claim applies. Now in terms of the paedtrician fees to check the baby before discharge, is it compulsory or can I request to see a paedtrician under the discovery network and would they then cover it as baby would be born already? Yes he is covered for everything once he’s born but does that paedtrician visit count as birth or ante natal or is it really required for them to check baby first , can midwife not do that?

        • Hi Mel. This is a question you should pose to your medical scheme. Although baby is covered immediately, there may be some restrictions that could be put in place for him/her given that you signed up so late. Your medical scheme will be able to anser your question more precisely. A midwife is there to assist you with your delivery but cannot replace a paediatrician who is there to assess your baby. Yes, baby should be assessed before being discharged. It is usually required to ensure that baby is in good health to leave the hospital. You may also want to discuss this with the hospital where you are delivering.

    • Hi Thembi. Please note that the hospital cover advertisement on this website is from a third party provider. You will have to speak to them directly once you request a quote. As far as we are aware there is no medical aid or hospital insurance plan that covers your existing pregnancy when you are 12 weeks into it.

  • I am currently 10 weeks pregnant, I am on Momentum Health but do not have GAP cover, What will my additional costs roughly add up to if the medical aid covers 100% medical aid rates, This is inclusive of the 3 night stay in hospital and delivery.

    • Hi Odessa. It depends on whether the plan you are on with regards to your medical will cover up to 300%. If so then it is unlikely that you will have to pay anything more out of your own pocket, since you do not have gap cover. However, if your medical aid plan only pays 100% then you will need to speak to the gynaecologist/obstetrician, paediatrician and/or anaesthetist as to their rates. Each practitioner has the right to charge his/her own rates. Some practitioners will charge medical aid tariffs, in which case it will not cost you anything extra. Other practitioners may charge above these tariffs in which case you will have to pay out of your own pocket. For example, some obstetricians in South Africa charge around R12,000 for a C-section whereas the medical aid rate is only around R4,000 (approximate 2016 rates). Here you will then be liable for the R8,000 shortfall. Usually private hospitals keep their rates within the medical aid tariffs and here again you will not be charged anything extra.

  • Hi I was Bonitas as a dependent for more than 15 years and recently decided to move to my own Bonitas option due to me being pregnant ,the termination was effective 31 Aug ’16, my question is will I be covered for the pregnancy incl specialist consultations and delivery?

    • Hi Maponya. It is best that you discuss this with your medical scheme. Usually if you move from one scheme to another or even from one plan to another with no interruption in cover then you will be covered without any waiting period. Your medical scheme will be able to advise you further.

  • Hi we are planning to have our third baby next year because of my experience at public hospitals I don’t want to give birth there anymore. Is there any hospital plan or medical aid scheeme that only covers giving birth? And how early should I join one before pregnancy?

    • Hi Kholo. All medical aids, even just a hospital plan medical aid cover, will cover the birth. You should find a plan that is affordable for you and has the benefits you need. There is usually a 12 month waiting period that applies so it is advisable that you start cover ASAP so as to ensure the birth is covered in full. You may also want to look at medical gap cover for any shortfall between what your doctor charges and what the medical aid pays.

  • Hi there

    My family and I are curently working and staying in Asia. We have medical insurance BUT it doesn’t cover pregnancy. My wife is 6 weeks pregnant now and she has been with the insurance for over 8 months. Would it be wise for her to move from our current medical insurance and join a SA medical aid before giving birth so that at least she would be covered? I understand that there is a 12 month waiting period for pregnancy but she would join after 12 months but then she will be 6 months pregnant. The costs of delivering here would be even higher than in South Africa and we would prefer if she gave birth at home.

    • Hi Lwazi. Your wife will still not be covered because she is moving over from a foreign medical insurance to a South African medical aid. The waiting period would only be overlooked if she moved from one South African medical scheme to another South African medical scheme. As you know, even if she did sign up for a South African medical aid cover now, it will be too late for this pregnancy to be covered. If she does want to deliver in a private hospital in S.A. then it will have to be paid for in cash, given these circumstances.

  • Hi there.
    I am due in a couple of weeks…I would like to know roughly how much can I expect to pay for natural birth including the gynea and paediatrician.

    • Hi Okuhle. Costs can vary from one private hospital to another, and even from one city to another. If you are not on medical aid and paying cash then you may be looking at around R20,000 for a natural birth. Can be more or less so you should speak directly with the private hospital of your choice about their delivery packages for expectant mothers who are not medical aid.

  • Hi there, I m Carrie n I just found out that I might be 2 weeks pregnant, I dnt hv a medical aid n I wish to give birth at a private hospital, m wondering if i take medical aid now will it cover for child birth. If it happens that I pay cash for natural birth how much is estimated price

  • hi there
    i am 27 weeks pregnant and i am covered with gems i dont have day to day funds i have been using a public clinic for check ups. my question is will the hospital help me with my delivery even though i haven’t seen a gynecologist?

    • Hi Khanyo. You need to have see a gynaecologist (who also does obstetrics) in order to get admitted and deliver at the hospital of your choice. It is very late in your pregnancy to be choosing an OBGYN now but you can speak to the private hospital in question about your options.

    • Hi Tabie. You can will have to pay cash if you do not have medical aid and want to deliver at a private hospital. As you can see from the article above, you can expect to pay between R10,000 to R35,000 depending on number of factors such as the location of the private hospital, whether it is a natural birth or C-section, the obstetrician / anaesthetist / paediatrician costs and so on. Speak to the private hospital of your choice as they have maternity packages for expectant mothers who want to pay for the delivery in cash.

  • Hello there.

    I am 2 months pregnant and my partner wants to put me on his medical aid, my question is will it cover me. I don’t want to give birth in government hospitals.

    • Hi Teshego. No the medical aid will not cover your current pregnany because it is considered to be a pre-existing condition. However, you will be covered for all other medical conditions once the relevant waiting periods pass. Furthermore your baby will be immediately covered upon birth. Your current pregnancy and delivery costs will have to be paid for in cash if you still want to attend a private hospital.

  • hi am on medical aid and the baby is not covered can u please estimate me how much will it cost for the baby only please help

    • Hi Kelebogile. Usually baby is covered immediately upon birth if you were already on medical aid. In the event that baby is not covered then he/she has to be included as a child dependent on either the mother’s or father’s medical aid. The rate will vary depending on which medical scheme and plan in question. Baby cannot be covered on his/her own on a separate medical aid without an adult as a main member.

  • Hi

    I am 13 weeks pregnant and recently signed up with GEMS. They informed they have a 3 month waiting period so They will cover the birth but not the ante-natal visits. How much is will gynae visit cost on average?

    • Hi Sue. It varies among doctors, location and so on. Expect to pay around R500 per visit but it can be more or less depending on the gynaecologist.

  • Hi

    My husband and I are in the process of trying for a baby. We both are on separate medical aids. I am on Discovery Coastal Saver whilst my husband is on a Discovery Hospital Plan. We do not have gap cover. We are looking to sign up for gap cover, however most gap cover plans have a waiting period especially for pregnancy. How much would it approximately cost in terms of the shortfall we would need to pay for a natural birth and C-Section if we have no gap cover?

    • Hi Sandra. The costs can vary depending on the obstetrician, anaesthetist and paediatrician. These practitioners may charge above medical aid rates. So while your medical scheme will cover the rate according to their tariff, the shortfall you will have to cover depends on the fee that these practitioners request.

      Some may only charge medical aid rates and no additional fee.

      Other practitioners may charge as much as 300% of medical aid rates. In this case your medical scheme will cover 100% and the other 200% must be covered by you. To put this in perspective, your medical aid may pay approximately R4,000 for the C-section but the obstetrician charges R10,000 (250% of medical aid tariff). You will then have to pay the R6,000 difference from your own pocket since you do not have gap cover. The final cost depends entirely on the practitioner’s demands.

      Usually hospitals charge the medical aid tariff for yours and baby’s hospitalisation, theatre time and so on. This should not put you out of pocket beyond what your medical scheme covers.

  • Hi. My wife and I recently found out that we are pregnant. This is after she has started a new job at the bank and has moved from Discovery to Bankmed. She is 5 weeks pregnant and we are now faced with the option of paying cash instead of medical aid, however is it possible for her to move back to Discovery though she is pregnant? Just trying to exhaust all my options before having to use the cash option

  • Hi, My wife recently changed jobs and changed her medical aid scheme along with it. She moved from Discovery to Bankmed and its been less than a month so far. So we were surprised that we are now to become parents to a new born baby. We now understand that Bankmed wont cover the delivery but will Discovery do so if she moves back as I know they have a window period?

    • Hi Keletso. If you change from one medical aid to another then there should be no interruption in service. In other words, your current medical aid has to cover the costs provided that there was no break in membership. However, if you cancelled your medical aid membership on one scheme and only later (usually after 90 days) joined the other scheme then you may be subject to waiting periods. In this case, neither of the schemes will cover you without a waiting period once again. It would be advisable to clarify the exact circumstances with both schemes.

  • Hi there,
    I’m an anxious and stressed (very stressed might I add) 27 week preggy momma who just got laid off (unfairly), was covered with GEMS and now they are going to de-activate membership.:( My gynae is based at sandton mediclinic, was hoping to give birth there. Anyway I can get new scheme or its rather too late now??

    • Hi Cathy. You can switch to a new open medical scheme and your cover will not be interrupted. You will also not be subject to a waiting period. However, you have to ensure that you switch over before you cover with GEMS is terminated. Choose a medical scheme and speak to them about your situation. They will be able to advise you further.

  • Hello there
    I am 30 weeks pregnant. I was going to public clinic for check ups and everything.

    i would like to give birth in a private hospital, my question however is, what requirements

    will be needed in order for the hospital to accept to help me with the labour?

    • Hi Kgaugelo. You should speak to the private hospital directly. An obstetrician/gynaecologist who would be responsible for your delivery will have to give you a referral letter for the hospital to accept you. The problem here is that you are too far into your pregnancy and most private gynaecologists may not agree to taking your case. Speak to the hospital administration staff and they will explain your options.

  • Hi lam 3 months pregnant have been attending the public hospital a week back the doctor told me he could not hear the hear beat of my baby so l wanna try and visit a private doctor for scans and will be paying cash how much will it cost me?

  • Hi, thank you very much for the informative topic. I’ve search a bit, but can’t find a non medical aid(too late) pregnancy cost estimator – meaning from the 1st scan, blood tests, antenatal classes etc. Just the recommended visits and tests up until birth, excluding cosmetics. I would like to prepare myself for al the costs along the way. For example:
    12 X antenatal classes @ R500
    4 x blood @ R…..
    5 x gynecologist visit @ R……
    … X 2D scans @ R……
    I know it’s a tall order, but I think /I hope I’m not the only one that is clueless and can prepare oneself beter for the known.

  • Hi my name is thoko and I stay in benoni am 19 weeks pregnant and I would like to go to am affordable private hospital I don’t want to go to public hospital and I would to know how much will it cost me

  • Good day

    i need urgent help please , I am 19 weeks and just lost my work due to covid 19 . Is there any affordable places to give birth safely as i lost my first child due to neglection by a government hospital.
    please if anyone can help .

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