For many, having a child is a milestone and an exciting time for future parents. However, the delivery itself – especially in a hospital – can be extremely expensive and potentially derail future financial goals.
To avoid being caught off guard with a hefty medical bill, here are all the costs of childbirth, the average cost of childbirth in the United States, and what you can do to prepare yourself financially.
Key childbirth statistics
- September is the month with the highest average birth rate in the United States
- Due dates are really estimates. According to CDC data from 2017, 73% of babies are born before their due date.
- Without complications, the average cost of a vaginal birth with insurance can range between $300 and $5,000, while the average cost without insurance can cost you between $9,000 and $17,000.
How much does it cost to have a baby?
The cost of having a child in America will vary depending on several factors including cost and location of the birthing facility, type of birth, length of stay, medications taken – such as an epidural – and complications that may arise during the birthing process. .
The total cost will also depend on the health insurance details and whether or not the maternity hospital accepts health insurance. For example, many women choose to forego giving birth in a hospital and instead opt for a birthing center, which may not accept all forms of insurance.
Cost of a birthing center compared to a hospital
Birth centers focus on holistic childbirth and generally don’t offer the same medical options as hospitals, such as epidurals and labor induction, making them an option for women with low-risk pregnancies.
Keep in mind that hospitals are medically considered the safest places to give birth, so birthing centers are not ideal for women with pre-existing conditions that may put them at risk for complications. Although birth centers are usually run by midwives and may have a resident OBG/YN or pediatrician on staff, birth centers are not considered medical facilities. They are usually stand-alone buildings, although some may be attached to hospitals.
Women generally choose to give birth at these centers because of the comfortable and serene environment, increased control over their birthing process, and lower costs. In most cases, the majority of the cost of a birth center comes from midwifery services. Prenatal care and an uncomplicated delivery cost on average between $3,000 and $4,000 without insurance.
Compared to double-digit birthing costs in a hospital, low-risk women who can afford the risk that a doctor may not be readily available and want a more natural birthing experience can save thousands of dollars in a birth center.
Vaginal vs C-Section Costs
In the United States, vaginal births have been the most popular and least expensive birthing option for many years. According to a 2020 study, only 31.8% of live births in the United States were cesarean (cesarean) deliveries.
C-sections are generally more expensive than a vaginal birth because they are considered an intensive surgical procedure and therefore require a longer hospital stay than vaginal births. There are also surgical resources like anesthesia and additional costs associated with C-section procedures that do not come with vaginal deliveries.
Here are the average costs of the two delivery methods with and without insurance:
|Procedure||Average cost (with insurance)||Average cost (without insurance)|
|Vaginal birth||$300 to $5,000||$9,000 to $17,000|
|caesarean section||$300 to $5,000||$14,000 to $25,000|
Despite the higher costs and longer recovery, there are medical reasons a person may choose a C-section over a vaginal birth. A C-section may be needed to protect the birth parent and baby due to complications during pregnancy, an emergency during labor and delivery, or if the birth parent has a pre-existing condition, such as diabetes.
Additional hospital costs
It is important to know what you are paying for when you give birth in hospital. Between fees, room charges, blood tests and ancillary recovery costs, the costs can quickly add up.
Here are some average fees and costs that might appear on a hospital bill after childbirth, depending on preference.
|Mother’s hospitalization costs (equipment, room, etc.)||$2,700|
|Hospitalization costs for the baby (equipment, care)||$900|
|Certified nurse midwife||$5.202|
The fees and distribution of costs will be different for each mother, depending on the auxiliary resources she chooses to pay. For example, anesthesia will only be billed to mothers who choose pain management, and only those who choose to have a certified nurse midwife will be billed for this service.
Also, it is not uncommon to receive two bills, one for the biological parent and one for the newborn. However, the birth of the newborn should be covered under the Newborns and Mothers Act 1965, so for this pediatric care to be covered the baby will need to be on the biological parents’ health insurance scheme within 30 days of birth.
Breakdown of costs by States
The average cost of birth varies widely from state to state, making it difficult to financially plan for the cost of labor and delivery when looking at national averages.
Here are the five most and least expensive US states to give birth before health insurance, given that there are no complications to factor into the total cost.
The most expensive states to give birth to
|State||Vaginal birth||caesarean section|
Cheapest states to give birth
|State||Vaginal birth||caesarean section|
Childbirth costs vary by state due to a potential combination of provider prices and the intensity of childbirth cases by that state.
Other costs to consider
In addition to delivery charges and hospital bills, there are a plethora of costs that come with being a parent. In fact, the average cost of your baby’s first year could cost you $11,195. While this cost depends on how many kids you already have and how many resources you have, it’s no secret that kids are a costly investment.
- baby clothes: $360
- Baby food: $300
- Baby formula: $821 to $2,920 (note the current formula shortage and inflation)
- Baby room layout: $1,500 (including crib, mattress and bedding, changing table, rocking chair, chest of drawers and other decorative items)
- Diapers and wipes: $300
- Stroller, car seat and baby carrier: $500
- Toys: $150
How to pay your hospital bills after giving birth
While it would be ideal for your birth to go exactly as planned, that’s not always the case. If you get hit with a higher emergency fee bill or stay longer than expected, it can be anxiety-provoking. However, financing options can make the amount more manageable.
- Health insurance: Routine antenatal, childbirth and newborn care are essential services covered by all registered health insurance plans. Depending on the insurance and type of plan, health insurance can save you thousands of dollars on your hospital stay.
- Medical help: Like employer-sponsored health insurance, Medicaid coverage includes prenatal care, labor, delivery, and medically necessary costs. Medicaid is available in all states to eligible low-income people, including pregnant women.
- Personal loan: A personal loan can take the lump sum hospital bill and make it more manageable by breaking it up into monthly installments. Although it shouldn’t be the first resort due to potentially high interest rates, it can be used as a tool to offset lost income due to unforeseen expenses. You can also calculate expenses before getting a loan with a loan calculator.
- Alternative financing: There are many federal, state, and local organizations dedicated to helping new parents who are not eligible for Medicaid. These organizations offer support ranging from helping women find affordable medical care to addressing food insecurity.
Ways to plan ahead to have a baby
The best thing an expectant parent can do for themselves is to financially plan for all possible scenarios when giving birth. In addition to planning the intended method and facility of birth, there are other ways to ensure that there will not be financial hardship due to the costs associated with labor and delivery in the States. -United.
- Create space within your budget: If you’re planning a pregnancy, start making room in your monthly budget for expected childbirth costs as soon as possible or as soon as you see those two pink lines. Evaluate your weekly expenses and see what ancillary expenses you can reduce to allocate more funds to a column dedicated specifically to childbirth.
- Stay connected: If you can, try to network as much as possible. Choosing in-network pediatricians, hospitals, and doctors will ensure that your costs are covered, at least partially, by your insurance.
- Know your insurance coverage: When making your financial plan, do your research and know what your insurance covers in regards to childbirth, and keep a detailed list of your potential out-of-pocket costs.
- Keep in mind other accounts: Don’t forget to consider your other accounts for your child, such as future savings or an education fund. The best way to do this is to create an account after the child is born which earns interest. To ensure that every payment is submitted, set up an automatic deposit that submits a fixed amount of money per month to your child’s future account.
The bottom line
While childbirth costs vary widely across the United States depending on several factors, even the cheapest hospital costs still account for a large part of the change. However, with good planning and plenty of research, it is possible to significantly reduce these costs.
You shouldn’t have to worry about how you’ll pay your bills while caring for a newborn. Knowing your needs and the resources at your disposal are the keys to making your postpartum reimbursement as smooth and smooth as possible.