Assuming everything goes as planned, the average cost for a traditional hospital vaginal birth is upwards of $30,000. In cases where a cesarean section is required, costs can increase to a staggering $50,000. These numbers don’t even reflect the numerous dollars spent on prenatal doctor visits, vitamins/ prescriptions, and childcare equipment. Not to mention everything that follows once the infant is born.
When considering alternative birthing options there are additional financial factors to consider. Depending on your opting to deliver in a birthing center at home or using a support companion — such as a doula or midwife — can either save you money or increase the price tag.
Because Doulas are not technically medical professionals many plans will not cover their services. A doul, however,r is trained to prevent C-section and use of medications to help decrease those costly events. In recent years, an increase in doula popularity has some plans beginning to assist in these costs — so it’s always best to verify with a potential health care provider if that is what you are considering for your birth plan.
Midwives, much like doulas are another great alternative option to obstetrical care in a hospital. As medically trained professionals, midwives can assist in all aspects of prenatal and delivery. Their care can often include exams, medications and a plethora of support/ counseling and education. When deciding on a midwife it is important to first check their level of health certifications. Nurse-midwives can work in all 50-states and are more likely to be covered by various policies. In any case, the use of a midwife could potentially cost far less than what you will expect from your hospital bills. But be sure to check with your provider – sometimes their services are only covered under specific circumstances, like giving birth in a hospital only.
Hiring a birthing assistant like the two examples above are typically seen as additional costs to a birth plan. Another thing to consider for the big day is the place of delivery. As previously mentioned, some policies will be more likely to consider these birth supporters in a hospital setting. Even if you opt for a water birth, if it is performed in a hospital it will probably be included in your normal hospital fees.
However, if you choose an alternate location such a birthing center, private office, and even your home the cost could fall on you. Though, typically they will be lower its best to expect that when choosing an alternative option on location you should expect to pay.
In the end, it is good to know that alternative birthing options are now becoming more mainstream in the health care industry. Because insurance varies from state to state as well as policy to policy, it’s always best to clarify your birth plan with your provider to make sure that what options you have decided will be covered or partially covered. Keep your options open, do your research and most importantly make a decision that you know you will be most happy with in the end.