The cost of childbirth is high in the USA. How high?
Most of us don’t need to be convinced that having a baby is pricey, a simple stroll through the baby department at almost any store, even discount stores, is likely to remove any doubts.
Although we have all heard “having a baby is expensive.” Very few of us (before giving birth) are able to put a number with the phrase.
So, I’m here to share just how much it cost me to give birth to my 8lb baby bundle.
WHY I’M SHARING
It feels so personal and revealing to share this but when I was pregnant there was a vast amount of information about lots of topics but I could never find detailed information on the cost of childbirth. But I was crazy curious, kinda like you are right now.
Unfortunately, our medical system (USA) just isn’t transparent. However, I did find a rare gem, an informative post that provides information about the average price for childbirth by State, check it out here.
Before continuing…I would not recommend using my personal data to estimate how much you will pay for your childbirth. There are many variables that make using my expenses to estimate your own a bad idea that aren’t limited to location, insurance, year, and whatever else medical billing specialist and hospitals use to calculate birthing expenses.
WHAT IS THE COST OF CHILDBIRTH?
Having a baby is a process.
When I first got pregnant, I had to find a good prenatal team to monitor my pregnancy.
I took my ability to choose seriously and ended up narrowing my choices to a local Ob/Gyn and a birthing center.
At both establishments, I was provided a price for my prenatal care, delivery, and postpartum care.
Ob/Gyn Package: $3,183.00
Birthing center: $4,950.00
*These charges do not include insurance.
- The birthing center was more expensive yet it included the full price of prenatal care and giving birth at the center, no hospital fees.
- The ob package was less expensive; however, the package did not include hospital fees and expenses.
I was impressed by the birthing center but ultimately my husband and I made the decision to continue care with the Ob/Gyn.
WHAT DID THE OB PACKAGE INCLUDE
Prenatal care included: Physical exam, recording of history and weight, blood pressure checks, fetal heart tones, and 13 routine prenatal visits.
Delivery care included: Admission to hospital, management of uncomplicated labor, Induction of labor via rupture of membranes or medication, Vaginal delivery or vacuum extraction, Episiotomy/Laceration repair if necessary, Manual removal of placenta.
Postpartum care included: postpartum hospital, visits following vaginal or cesarean delivery, and 1 or more outpatient postpartum visits up to and including 6 weeks postpartum check.
THE COST OF CHILDBIRTH WITH INSURANCE
Having insurance reduced the cost of having a baby but be sure to pay attention to the medical plan year, deductibles, and coinsurance.
OB Package with Insurance
I was pregnant in 2016 but not scheduled to give birth until 2017 and was given this estimate:
Ob/Gyn: $3183.00 (without insurance)| $978.06 (with insurance)
- Deductible + Coinsurance= $978.06
When 2017 rolled around, the OB Package price was the same but my medical plan deductible had increased significantly:
Ob/Gyn: $3183.00 (without insurance)| $1,418.06 (with insurance)
- Deductible + Coinsurance= $1,418.06
When the plan year changed and the deductible went it up, I learned that I would be required to pay the increase because the payout is based on the plan that is active when you actually give birth. It makes sense but I had wishful thoughts; I was hoping to be grandfathered into the 2016 plan price. It didn’t happen.
ADDITIONAL COSTS OF HAVING A BABY
You may be thinking $1,418.06 is reasonable for care and birth and I would agree but I received a few more bills in addition to this one from the Ob/Gyn. That wasn’t a typo. We got 6 more bills.
The additional expenses without insurance applied:
- The hospital for me | $2,472.35
- The hospital for my baby | $2,805.30
- A pediatrician visit at the hospital |$250.00 (day of birth)
- A pediatrician visit at the hospital |$125.00 (1 day after birth)
- A pediatrician visit at the hospital |$175.00 (2 days after birth)
- A pediatrician outpatient visit |$140.00 (4 days after birth)
The additional expenses with our personal insurance applied:
- The hospital for me | $494.47
- The hospital for my baby | $219.80
- A pediatrician visit at the hospital | $77.51 (day of birth)
- A pediatrician visit at the hospital | $41.33 (1 day after birth)
- A pediatrician visit at the hospital | $89.55 (2 days after birth)
- A pediatrician outpatient visit | $76.92 (4 days after birth)
ALL MY EXPENSES FOR GIVING BIRTH IN A HOSPITAL
My total birthing expenses were as follows:
TOTAL: $9,150.65 (without insurance) | $2,417.64 (with insurance)
*These totals include the Ob/Gyn prenatal care, an uncomplicated vaginal birth at a hospital, and pediatric care following the birth.
Having insurance was a huge blessing and definitely made the cost of care more affordable. Also, I didn’t incur anesthesiology expenses because I had a natural birth.
THE BLESSING IN IT ALL
No matter what we paid for giving birth, we’d do it again because thankfully we had a positive experience. Our prenatal team was top-notch, the birth suite was well-equipped, and most importantly we gave birth to a healthy baby.
I also don’t take for granted that we had insurance to help cover much of the expenses.
You may be worried about the cost of childbirth but worrying about things we can’t change is a waste of energy. I wasn’t going to not give birth if the expenses were 10x more or less.
…worrying about things we can’t change is a waste of energy.
Instead, put your energy into maintaining a budget for your circumstance. If you need help check out the Debt-Free Baby Planner, it has printables to help you organize your expenses and pay down your baby bills one-by-one.
If you begin to get bills that you can’t afford in full, find out if there are ways to get on a payment plan before the account goes delinquent.
I really hope you find this informational. If you are pregnant it could be the motivation you need to start saving; it’s never too early or too late. Also, don’t forget to plan for maternity leave. It’s an important process that can reduce the stress of the 4th trimester.
*I’m interested in hearing from moms from everywhere about the cost of childbirth. Also, if you are from a different country than the USA, please share a bit about your experience.
DID THE COST OF CHILDBIRTH SHOCK YOU? HOW DID YOU HANDLE THE EXPENSES?