Delivery is the biggest single cost of your pregnancy, particularly if you give birth in a hospital, like more than 98 percent of women do. The overall delivery cost includes fees for the facility, the doctors’ time, medications, lab tests, and even some unexpected items—such as a toothbrush.
Costs vary depending on what type of delivery you have. Among parents with private insurance plans, the average out-of-pocket cost was $2,244 for a vaginal birth and $2,669 for a caesarian section, according to a 2013 study by Truven Health Analytics. (Medicaid covers 98 percent to 99 percent of total fees.)
What you can do:
If you choose to deliver your baby in the hospital, avoid getting nickel-and-dimed by bringing your own supplies, such as ibuprofen and toiletries.
As an alternative to the hospital, you might consider hiring a midwife. Although the medical community recommends hospital births for high-risk pregnancies, many families deliver their babies with help from midwives, either in a birthing center or in the parents’ home, which usually is more affordable.
In 2011, the facility fee in a hospital for a vaginal birth without complications averaged more than three times the cost of the same type of delivery in a birthing center, according to data collected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Affordable Care Act now requires Medicaid to cover birthing center births and fees charged by state-recognized doctors, nurses, and midwives, explains Carol Sakala, director of Childbirth Connection Programs. Insurance coverage of home births is inconsistent, she says, but “sometimes perseverance (with your insurer) can turn a ‘no’ into a ‘yes.’”
Call providers to compare pricing and coverage for various birth scenarios, as well as related services such as breast-feeding and parenting classes. Then, pick the option that best suits your needs and your budget.