Pregnancy and the first six months of a baby's life are costing mothers an average of £10,000, a report published on Thursday claims.
Expecting a large cash outlay?
The bulk of that is taken up with loss of earnings during maternity leave, the survey found.
But the additional costs of buying prams, cots and other necessities is pushing up the total.
The high costs are putting some women off getting pregnant, fearing they will be unable to afford it.
One in four women in the survey by Prima Baby Magazine said the massive cost did affect their decision on whether and when to have a baby.
Most working mothers take about six months off work, which adds up to an average of £9,000 in lost pay, said the report.
The survey found that among the 700 women who responded, the average price paid for a pram was £233, a cot £155 on average and baby clothes £173.
The joys of motherhood can be coupled with high costs
Most pregnant women also spent about £132 on maternity wear and £45 on extra toiletries.
By the time the child has progressed from a Moses basket to a cot and then bed, parents will have spent an average of £509 on beds.
As well as the cost of disposable nappies, if a mother does not breastfeed she can expect to pay around £285 on formula milk for the first six months.
Mothers-to-be are concerned at the prospect of the high costs of having a baby, with many expecting to pay
nearly £200 a month on average.
In fact, that is lower than the actual figure of £293 for mothers who have already returned to work.
Magazine editor Julia Goodwin said: "Having a baby is the most exciting time in your life but it doesn't come cheap.
Average baby costs
Loss of earnings - £9,000
Pram - £233
Disposable nappies for the first 30 months - between £536 and £760
Extra toiletries - £45
"We hear a lot about 'selfish' couples waiting longer to start their families but many wait because they can't afford the enormous extra cost."
The figures from the survey, which was carried out last summer, do not include nappies, toiletries and food after the baby is born.
Parents are said to be paying more than ever for childcare.
In a survey by childcare charity Daycare Trust, it found the ever-increasing bills mean more children living in poverty and fewer performing well at school.
It says the typical weekly cost of sending a toddler to nursery has risen by more than £8.50 in the past year alone.