I can see why more people are opting for ‘freebirths’ in the U.S. Who the heck can afford the cost?
At the turn of the 20th century, having a baby was dangerous, but not all that expensive: Women simply hired a midwife for a couple of dollars and prayed they wouldn’t die on the kitchen table.
Add another $8,800 to those two dollars and you get today’s average cost of giving birth, according to a study released Tuesday by the March of Dimes.
Nationally, a vaginal delivery cost $7,737, with caesarean sections averaging $10,958.
Researchers examined insurance claims in 2004 for more than 43,000 deliveries, including prenatal care, delivery and newborn health care for three months after birth. The women studied had traditional employer-provided health insurance rather than HMO insurance and were not covered by government programs such as Medi-Cal.
It’s important to study childbirth costs because pregnancy and childbirth account for nearly a quarter of all hospitalizations in the United States, the researchers say.
The researchers found that insurers covered most of the cost of childbirth, with the women paying an average of $463 out-of-pocket for vaginal deliveries and $523 for C-sections. Many consumers, however, report that their out-of-pocket costs are higher, depending on the care they receive and type of insurance they have.
The price is different throughout the U.S. with Northeast coming in as the most expensive, mostly because of the higher cost of living. Western states are the next most expensive; it’s cheapest to give birth in the South.
Regardless of where you live, maternity costs can spiral even further if a baby is born prematurely: In another study conducted using data from 2001, the researchers found that a year’s worth of health care for a premature baby averages $41,610, compared with $2,830 for a healthy, full-term infant.