How much does it cost to give birth?

Written by sarah dewitt ince
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How much does it cost to give birth?
(flickr- creative commons)

The cost of giving birth can vary greatly depending on the method of care chosen, hospital fees and provider fees. The fee structure is different for each individual hospital. County hospitals have much lower fees, but the cleanliness and type of care may not be as great as at some of the larger hospitals. Some hospitals rely on grants and government aid to operate because many of their patients are low income or don't have insurance. Giving birth at a county hospital is typically not needed if you have moderate income and insurance.

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Cost Based on Location

The cost can also vary depending on which state you live in. In some states it is much cheaper to give birth. It is much cheaper to give birth in lower income states like Iowa and Kansas. Here, hospitals and doctors are forced to adjust their fees because the average median income is much lower than other places like California or Colorado. Generally, it costs more to give birth in places where there is a larger percentage of people with high incomes.

Hospital Fees

Hospital fees can also impact the cost of the birth. Most hospitals charge additional fees for the surgery or they take a portion of what the doctor makes. C-sections are on the rise and more surgical births are done every day, causing the cost of care to go through the roof. An uncomplicated vaginal birth can cost £1,950 to £3,900, and a C-section typically costs £6,500 to £26,000. The cost goes up depending on how long the patient stays in the hospital and if any complication arises before or after the delivery.

Doctor Fees

The cost to see an ob/gyn is very high if you don't have insurance. Many doctors charge £1,625 and up for prenatal care in addition to £1,950 or more for the birth. The cost of the birth can vary depending on the doctor and hospital. Some doctors will work out a payment plan with their patients who don't have insurance.

Homebirth

Many local homebirth midwives charge a moderate fee for care and the delivery of your baby. The fees may still apply if you are transferred to a hospital depending on the midwife's policy. In most cases low risk women are not transferred to a hospital, especially if they have a doula present. A doula is a labour support coach. Most doulas charge £130 to £390 depending on the services offered. Some doulas provide additional postpartum support, massage and other alternative treatments.

Many midwives charge £975 to £1,300 depending on the state you live in. Naturopathic doctors can also deliver babies in some states. Most NDs charge £2,275 and up. Many women seeking a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean) opt to go with a Naturopathic doctor because they are much more supportive of VBAC births.

Why Do the Costs Go Up for Some Vaginal Births?

A vaginal birth is obviously much cheaper than a surgical C-section birth; however some complicated vaginal births can cost nearly as much as a C-section. When interventions are used, the cost of care goes up greatly even if a woman has a vaginal birth. Some interventions like an epidural or other medical procedures can sky rocket the cost of having a baby.

One more Thing to Consider

The cost that an insurance company pays for a vaginal or a C-section birth is also much lower than the price a person without insurance is charged. Insurance companies have negotiated for better rates, so their cost is typically on the low end. Hospitals and doctors usually charge triple for people who are uninsured.

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