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Cost of Childbirth in America – How Does it Impact You?

Still saving up for your next child?

I was talking to a guy the other day who had two children. In his culture larger families are quite common and I asked if he thought they would have more children later. He said, “No – we are still paying off our second child.”

Wow! Four years, almost five years later and they are still paying for the birth. I expressed some shock over what he told me and he shared more. Her surgical birth in big-city Texas cost $48,727 total. He knew the exact number.

I know the exact number of what we paid to our midwives as well. $2800 because we pay in full by week 36. And that is total prenatal, postpartum and birth care care except for any lab work or ultrasounds we choose to have. I knew that birth costs varied a great deal, and that the average costs had risen quite a bit in the last decade, but I didn’t realize how much until I started investigating.

According to Childbirth Connection’s recent recap of numbers collected by U.S Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality the average cost of childbirth in America rose between 2-8% from 2007-2008 and another 8-16% from 2008-2009. See the Average Charges for Childbirth slide to see costs broken down by type of birth and place of birth. Note that these costs do not reflect newborn care, prenatal care or any anesthesia charges (a guaranteed with C-Section births). The greatest increases came with the cost of surgical births!

I know that the midwives I use see patients for prenatal care that intend to deliver in a hospital, and sometimes charge on a sliding scale for maternity care only, just to make sure these uninsured are being provided with high-quality care they can “afford”. For us the decision to pay our midwife out-of-pocket wasn’t a financial one, but the financial savings were certainly an added bonus. What about you?

Did cost of childbirth, delivery and prenatal care impact your choices of birth place?

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