New mums are being pushed into debt after having a baby – including racking up an average of £1,770 extra in student loan interest – the figures show.
In addition to coping with declining incomes and the rising costs of a newborn baby, almost a quarter of women go on maternity leave without any savings.
A study of new parents and expectant parents by finance company Credit Karma found that 26% of women go into debt to cover maternity leave, averaging £2,800 of borrowing.
That’s an increase of £560 from 2018, according to the company.
The new research comes as cost of living crisis in the UK continues, with rising fuel and food prices hitting the public hard.
Read more: More than half of UK households are reducing their gas and electricity use
Akansha Nath, Head of Partnerships at Credit Karma UK, said: “Women are often financially disadvantaged throughout their lives, and the responsibility of giving birth plays a huge part in this gender disparity.
“At a time when the cost of living affects most people and every penny counts, it’s more important than ever that women take advantage of any support available to them.”
Women with student loans face high interest charges on their loans while on leave and unable to work, racking up an average of £1,770 in loan interest in just six months on leave, according to the society.
Maternity leave can also impact their credit score, causing them to lose an average of £17,000 in interest over their lifetime.