The Cost to Give Birth in the US Will Make Your Jaw Hit the Floor

From the physical recovery to the emotional shift it takes to welcome a new baby into the world, giving birth can be one of the most stressful and emotional times in a woman’s life. The act of giving birth is hard enough, so you’d think hospitals would cut us a little slack when it comes to the cost for putting our bodies through hell, right? Wrong. In addition to taking home a new bundle of joy, many families will also leave with a medical bill north of $10,000.

According to International Federation of Health Plans, the average cost of a vaginal delivery is $12,290, and the cost of a C-section (which is roughly 30 percent of all deliveries) is $16,907. Considering that about four million babies are born each year, that’s a lot of money going into the cost of giving birth. And extended stays in the hospital, like for preemies and jaundice, can really make that bill add up.

Some families choosing to cut costs (and cut out hospitals altogether) may opt for a more natural experience with a midwife at home. Using a midwife can cost anywhere between $1,500 and $5,000, depending on services requested and location. While that sounds like it might help save some money, since only a few health insurance companies cover home births, all of that money is paid to the midwife out of pocket.

Health insurance helps subsidize this fiscal pain, with some plans only having patients pay a hospital copay. Different plans, like having an HMO or a PPO, can drastically shift how much a woman has to pay to give birth. But no matter how much you can save, the US is the most expensive place in the world to give birth.