Nearly a third of new mothers are going into the red while on maternity leave, racking up an average debt of close to £2,500, according to research from uSwitch.com.
Typically, new mums see their monthly household income almost halve from £2,866 to just £1,654 when they go on maternity leave, but only a quarter feel financially prepared for the income drop and 43% of new mums don't save any money to cover their time away from work.
At the same time as experiencing a drop in income, new mums are splashing out an average of £1,400 on items for the new arrival.
The financial strain of paying for a new baby on a reduced income is leading to one in ten new mums cutting short their maternity leave and returning to work early just to make ends meet.
"Planning for a baby is tough at the best of times, but in the face of the soaring cost of living there is even more pressure on family finances. For some families this can mean some very difficult decisions. It's heartbreaking that so many mums are being forced into debt or are having to cut short their maternity leave just to make ends meet," says Ann Robinson, spokesperson for uSwitch.com.
"It's clear that more needs to be done by the government to help families cope with the financial burden of parenthood," she adds.