Having a baby is pushing families in to debt as the cost of nappies, push chairs, toys and clothes eat in to income.
Many families pick up tax credits when they have a child, but the money received barely covers the costs paid out when losing a wage for maternity and paternity leave are considered.
One recent survey, by financial comparison web site uSwitch, reckons mums run up debts of an average £2,500 while on maternity leave.
Many young couples are delaying have a child until they can move in to their own home - but as the slender hopes of first time buyers fade as home prices rise and mortgage availability tightens, more are choosing to have a baby while renting.
The survey showed only one in four mums felt financially ready to have a baby, 40% had no savings, while 10% were forced to take hand-outs from family or friends and 14% ran up debts as loans, extra credit card borrowing or an overdraft.
A staggering 40% of mums say they are unlikely to have another baby because of the stress on finances.
Starting a family is a major financial crossroads, and couples expecting a baby while already experiencing financial problems are likely to see their finances worsen rather than improve.
Certainly borrowing to manage debt is only likely to result in a temporary respite and a bigger financial problem to deal with.
If possible, couples should deal with their debts before having a baby.
Better spending control is crucial, so set up a family budget and stick to it - but if paying the bills becomes too difficult, look at an informal financial management plan.
The plan can reschedule debts with the agreement of of lenders to make repayments more manageable and free up cash for day to day living costs and essentials.
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Notes to editors:
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