I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—one of the reasons that my husband and I chose midwife-assisted birth for our kids was because of price. My husband and I had terrible insurance as self-employed workers. Even so, I was surprised to find when I got pregnant for the first time that insurance didn’t cover any prenatal care or birth-related expenses.
We could have used a hospital and paid out-of-pocket, but I’m not a big fan of hospitals myself. Just a matter of preference—though I would definitely go to a hospital if I had a broken leg. We did a bit of research and quickly found out that birthing center costs were far cheaper: $3600 in total, with absolutely no hidden expenses tacked in, unlike many of the horror stories I’ve heard related to hospital bills.
Our first son was born in a birthing center for $3600. Our second son was born at home, because that was where our midwife offered care at the time, for $3600. Compared to other nightmarish insurance tales we have heard from friends, we got a pretty good deal.
2013 estimates for the average cost of birth in the US added up to $30,000. This cost estimate was for vaginal delivery and did not include the cost of a C-section:
“The average total price charged for pregnancy and newborn care was about $30,000 for a vaginal delivery and $50,000 for a C-section…with commercial insurers paying out an average of $18,329 and $27,866.”
I understand that many times you can’t predict the outcome of a delivery. What was thought to be a simple pregnancy could cost you more than you ever expected in emergency hospital bills. I’m not a medical professional, so you can toss my advice right out the window if you want to. I just know that the only way I was able to afford to have two kids was because of low-cost home birth.
Home birth isn’t for everyone, especially a high-risk pregnancy. But one great benefit to the entire process, besides not having to leave my house to pop out a baby, was knowing that we would pay exactly what we were quoted by our midwife, and not a penny more. Those that are interested in a midwife-assisted birth and feel it’s the right choice for them can add one more advantage to the list: It’s a helluva lot cheaper.
(Image: Michelle D. Milliman/Shutterstock)