Average Cost of Delivering A Baby

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cost of delivering a baby

Do you really want to know how much it costs?

The Wisdom Journal calls it a financial shocks for new parents – the cost of having a baby.

What is average cost of having a baby?

In an article entitled How Much Does Baby Delivery Cost? the author says (of course depending on a million factors) that in the United States those without insurance you can expect to pay $9,000 – $17,000 for a natural birth and $14,000-25,000 for C-section births and complications.   For patients with insurance they say to expect a bill for around $500 – $3,000.  In addition, the baby usually receives a separate bill for between $1,500 – $4,000.

The price can differ significantly also depending on your birthing method.

A birth home (home birth) for example will depend on the fees of a midwife.  This typically starts around $3,500 and increases.

A hypnobirth may be an alternative also.  Check with a local HypnoBirthing Practitioner for the average cost.

A natural child birth could decrease the cost.  In our case the epideral cost about $400.  My wife assures me it was worth every penny.

WOW.  That is a lot of money.  I know those numbers are right because I know several people who have recently had children and their experiences support those numbers.  But, with the rising medical costs, don’t be surprised if those number continue to increase.           

Here are our costs for having a baby:

  1. In 2005, we had our daughter in the U.S. (my wife is American).  We had ‘good’ insurance that provided 80/20 coverage (in other words, we paid 20% of the total cost)  with a $500 deductible.  Our bill for delivery for mother and baby came to between $3,000 and $3,500.  That was a lot more than we expected.  At the time we didn’t realize the baby would have a separate bill and deductible.
  2. In 2007 we had a son in Canada (I am Canadian).  We had international insurance (because we live in Papua New Guinea).  The billing department said our total cost for a private room would be $1,600 Canadian dollars total, including all fees for mother and baby.  A cesarean section – add another $500.  With insurance we paid $250 for our son.
  3. Here is a little more perspective.  In 2002, some friends in Papua New Guinea had a daughter.  The total bill?   $8 (less than the cost of a head of imported broccoli!).

Anyone want to guess where we decided to have baby number three?  Yes, Canada.  I know having children outside of the US is not an option for everyone, but if it is then take advantage of the opportunity.

This of course begs the question Should I pay extra for maternity insurance coverage?

Once the baby is born factors like the babies health will drastically impact the price.

How much did your maternity bill cost?  Any idea what the cost is in other countries?

Comments

  1. bnewfie says

    Being a Canadian myself I’d say you made a fine choice. Congrats on your new bundle of joy. I have three children myself.

    Blessings.

  2. Nicole Whaley says

    Yes…it all seems true. We had decent insurance with maternity coverage in the US. I am still a little puzzled at how it can be considered maternity “coverage” when it cost right at $5,000 for my prenatal care and Ella’s c-section delivery. This is ON TOP of premiums of around $370 each month. Something is very wrong with that system. But I am also thankful that we could take care of the bills. Many can’t. Our 2nd baby will be born in Australia…and because of my citizenship here, the cost of all prenatal care and delivery (natural or surgical) is $0.00. Now granted — in some ways — you get what you pay for…(no specific OB, group midwife care which means a different midwife each visit, shared room at the hospital, bring your own diapers for baby etc…) But even if I paid to go private (private OB, private hospital, private room)…grand total would be $4,250 AUD…natural OR surgical birth is the same cost. Thankfully we’re getting a very generous baby bonus from the Aus government…it almost pays for the birth of Ella. You’re right…not everyone is able to take advantage of a more flexible and affordable health care system. I hope for Americans (and for us…life in the US COULD be part of our future some day)…that the cost of health care will be far less prohibitive. Happy Birth day to the third little one. (and sorry…I get just a LITTLE excited abou this issue). Nicole

  3. Amy says

    I think I’ll stand a little taller the next time I sing “O Canada,” and cringe a little less when I see how much taxes are deducted from my pay this month.

  4. Lene says

    I notice that you did not mention prepaying. I have a friend who prepayed the hospital and doctor (in the US) and only paid $3500 for a c-section total. That is a wise option if you are able to take advantage of it.

    • Craig says

      Lene,
      Great point. I saved the prepay discussion for the post where I asked if you should purchase a maternity rider. Good to have a story of a person who was able to negotiate a cash payment with their local hospital – most will. Thanks for your comment. Anyone else able to negotiate a cash prepayment with their local hospital?

      • Kasey says

        Even with prepay you wont pay less. You are just paying in advance. Our doctor allowed for this for the OBGYN but hospital bill is an additional bill.
        I was quoted $2,500 deductible from insurance … just to cover OBGYN visits. Then the hospital bill will be additional. Since I already payed my deductible for my insurance the rest of the bills (hospital and family doctor) will be at 30/70. Where I pay 30% and insurance pays 70%. So, about $3,000 for hospital.
        All in all ending up with about $5,500 with Blue Cross/Blue Shield minimal insurance. No clue on the family doctor visit yet, still have a month till the baby is born.

  5. Maureen says

    Dear Craig
    First i would like to welcome ur 3 children and plz forward my great wishes to them.
    i need ur help if u can…i was navigating through internet and i read ur story so i just wanted to have ur help…… i live in Egypt and i like to give birth in Canada but i dont like to be surprised with a huge sum of money after giving birth. i would like to have c-section and i need to know approximately how much will it cost … can u advice and try to send an email of a doctor who is good and not much expensive.
    P.S. I dont have international insurance so i will pay everything on my own..
    Thanks
    Maureen

    • says

      Maureen,
      Count on paying around $3,000 depending on the hospital. We had our kids in Ontario. In most places it doesn’t matter who the doctor is because the doctors rates are regulated and so you’ll pay about the same. If you have any other question contact me at mhforc [at] gmail.com.

      • Dina says

        Hi Craig
        Hope everything is going ok, I am Dina, currenlty I am living in Malaysia, I am planning to give birth in USA( Houston) I have 1 son (6 years) , I am planning for a c-section just like the first baby as it was c-section as well..
        I dont have an insurance:( and I knew that it is very expensive for giving birth in this us!!
        Can u pls give me information about the approximate cost of delivery there including the hospital and the doctor cost and can u pls recommend a good hospital for me??
        One more thing I found a lot of ppl discussing something called prepayment! What is it for and how it can reduce the cost from 10000 to 3000 as written in the comments?!
        Pls reply me ASAP
        Thanks a lot
        Dina

        • says

          Dina,
          I don’t have any personal or professional knowledge beyond what I posted here. You’ll need to contact a hospital in Houston to find our what they charge. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

  6. babs says

    Hi,

    My husband and I are lucky enough to have the same options. We haven’t started having kids yet, but when we do, we’d like to have the best care and not have to worry TOO much about cost. Going back to Canada is a great idea, but I have a few questions.

    1) Did your wife have her prenatal care in the US? If so, what were the approximate costs of that? If not…did she live in Canada for 9 months? It is always an option, but probably not the easiest.

    2) When did she go back to Canada to deliver? 1 month before her due date, 2 weeks, etc? It seems so risky to fly when you’re 8 months pregnant. But who wants to be away from “home” for a month during one of the most stressful, and concurrently wonderful times of their life?

    We have a $5000 deductible, so if we stayed in the US for the birth, we’d end up paying a hefty chunk.

    Thanks,
    Babs

    • says

      Babs,
      1) In our case my wife had prenatal care overseas (Papua New Guinea). The cost there was $3 per visit.
      2) For both our kids we flew on the last possible day that they allow international travel (36 weeks). It might seem risky to some, but my wife has always had healthy deliveries and we decided we didn’t want to spare the extra time during our travels.
      FYI, we left Canada 2 weeks after the kids were born. Thus we stayed for a total of 6 weeks.
      In our case we could have paid the full amount for less than $5,000 so Canada does seem like a cheaper option.

  7. babs says

    Thanks so much for the reply Craig. This is very useful info. I’ll keep it all in mind! Unfortunately, I don’t think my husband could ever get 6 weeks straight off of work :(

    Did it bother your wife that it wasn’t the same doctor that did all of her prenatal care who delivered her baby? I had this whole idea that it would be a hassle to have the paperwork faxed to the new doctor and that there’d be this feeling that the doctor doesn’t know you as well.

    • says

      Babs,
      No. Most people can’t get six weeks off work. As a missionary we visit our supporting churches every two years. Since we have churches that I visit in Canada we planned that work around the birth of our children.
      In PNG you don’t get assigned a pre-natal physician so she didn’t even see the same person here. Our doctor did request about five tests only one of which they were able to perform here. However, he gladly worked with us and we never had any issues.

  8. Tom says

    It cost me nothing, except the national insurance I pay every time I get paid. Thank god I live in a civilised country.

  9. says

    Wait, you had to PAY to have a baby?

    I think Tom must live in the UK where I live. The idea of paying to have a baby boggles my mind. What if you don’t pay? Does the hospital sell the kid? (I’m joking, but seriously, I can’t believe you have to pay so much to have a baby in the states. Especially with your birth-rate versus other developed nations.)

    • says

      Ru,
      Canadians who live in Canada do not pay to have kids either.

      If you don’t pay the private doctor will not deliver the baby. In the US you select a doctor and make financial arrangements before having the baby. There are facilities for people who do not have insurance.

  10. Jane says

    Hello Craig,

    Thanks for your kind information and you are blessed with lovely kids.
    Please can i contact you in the future should i have any questions regarding Ontario?

    Regards,
    Jane.

      • julian says

        hi Craig,I’m from Bulgaria and my wife is from Belarus.we’ve a 2 kids-girls and now she’s pregnant/3-4 weeks/.how we can get visa to come/afraid ambassador not give us/,birth our 3th baby there and stay forever.we’ve some money and sale our flat at Sofia,where we live now.no future for us in Bulgaria.otherwise she make abort.

  11. katie says

    Hi craig
    I am also canadian– living in the usa– my husband is american- i have health insurance– i have to pay 10% of my medical costs– i think this also applies to my hopsital stay for delivery— i paid a total of 300$ for my prenatal doctor visits and that also covers her doing the delivery– and the mandatory visits after delivery— my insurance covered a big chunk of lab work and ultrasound– im 33 weeks along now and ive paid 180$ in total for everything else– I really wish i could be in canada for all of this but its not an option– my question is aprx how much would you guess the bill after the hospital is going to be???
    thank you!

    • says

      Katie,
      It completely depends on your city and hospital. You can call them for the exact amount. When we paid 20% we paid over $3,000 out of pocket.

  12. keodii says

    hi, i live in nigeria, i hope to have my baby in the states cos that’s where i have family and ‘m saving towards that but with the cost and no insurance ‘m beginning to wonder if i can save enough before i am due. what do you advice

    • says

      Keoddi,
      My only advice is to save as much as you can. The post gives you the numbers and you just need to see if your current savings rate will help you reach your target.

  13. Hiwat says

    Dear Craig
    I live in ethiopia, I want to come Canada in a visitor visa and have a baby in canada. How much it cost to have a c-section deliver.
    When do I contact the hospital, before I come to Canada or after

    • says

      Hiwat,
      As far as the c-section cost I can’t provide any info as we’ve never paid for one. You would likely want to contact a doctor before you came to Canada.

  14. Lynse Stevens says

    I am currently pregnant and live in the US with my husband. I am a Canadian Citizen but have lived abroad for about 5 years. If we went to Canada for birth what would be our out of pocket expenses? Currently if we stay in the US we will have to pay, at a minimal, $5000 to reach our deductible and then the insurance would pick up 80% after that.

    Would it just be cheaper to make the 5 hour drive and deliver in Canada?

    • says

      In our case the out of pocket was about $3,000. For you it would depend the location due to doctor and hospital fees. Remember, if you do have the baby in Canada you would have to hang around for at least several weeks to take care of the paperwork necessary to get out of the country with the baby.

  15. Harry says

    My child will be born in Buenos Aires, I’m an English Teacher here and my wife is from here as well, I don’t have to pay for anything, our social security here is good enough…

  16. tina says

    hi am kenyan and would like to have my baby in canada through normal delivery how much do you think it would cost i will travel at 34 weeks.am not canadian thanks

    • says

      Tina,
      Sorry, but I can’t really offer any additional information than I’ve posted in this article and the comments. All of my information is now nearly four years old. You’ll need to contact the hospital where you plan to have the baby.

  17. Nadia says

    Hello Craig,
    Thanks for this article. We were very happy to come across it as we are also Canadians and living in Lae, Papua New Guinea! We are missionaries with a small mission organization, sharing the Gospel in the settlements around Lae. We have been blessed with 3 children who were all born in Canada with OHIP coverage–what a blessing! Now we are considering trying for our 4th, but unfortunately with the changes in OHIP we are no longer covered. We are looking into international insurance and are currently covered under missionaryhealth.net. To get a maternity rider with coverage we are looking at around $3500. Do you think this would still be cheaper than paying for it upfront? (we would use a midwife in hospital–with an epidural!!). Also, who do you have your international insurance coverage with? Not sure if you can help at all with these questions, but it’s worth a try. Thanks for sharing your insights. God bless. (I gathered from your blog that you are now on furlough–hope that is going well.)

    • says

      Nadia,
      Thanks for your question. It’s good to meet other missionaries in PNG (even if it is over the internet!).

      With a maternity rider you’d have to look at the terms and conditions. Some require you to have it for a year before you can even get pregnant. If that were the case you’d guarantee to pay $7,000 before getting coverage (1 year before getting pregnant and one year pregnant). If that is the case I’d say cash is definitely cheaper.

      All I can says is that $3,500 would have covered the cost of our last child about two years ago (with an epidural).

      We just switch our health insurance over to Medi-Share a Christian sharing network. In order to be eligible I think you have to be a US Citizen or resident. (My wife is American).

      I hope this helps.

  18. THamilton says

    Hi Craig,

    Thanks for the info. I am Canadian and I know the best option is for me to stay and have my baby in Canada…HOWEVER, the father lives in Serbia. Right now I am trying to get international health insurance for myself so I can move to Serbia and have my baby there (but I am already pregnant and haven’t found anything). Can you offer any advice or direct me to a company that will offer coverage for a woman who is already pregnant?

    Thank you

    • says

      THamilton,
      Unfortunately, I cant offer much helpful advice. I will tell you that it will be nearly impossible to find something that covers an already pregnant woman. It would need to be something with open enrollment.

  19. says

    The American health care system is the worse pathetic excuse for a health care system, I’ve ever seen. I am an American and my husband is Canadian. My husband moved 6 years ago to the States full time after we got married. Three years ago we had our first child, we both work and have what many people in the US consider good health insurace. Our premiums were about $450/month for just the two of us. We’re both very healthy so we have not seen a doctor in years, this means that for the last 5 years, we paid $450/month for insurance and got nothing in return. Anyway, my pregnancy was complicated and required a c-section, it was not an emergency C-section, but based on family history and other issues, my OBGYN highly recommended I have a c-section. To make a long story short, after insurance we were left with a $22,000 bill because the insuance deemed the c-section as “non-emergency” or “life threatening”. The system is pathetic…

    After this ordeal my husband decided that we should have our second child in Canada. And even without health insurance we paid out of pocket, we only paid $2300 for an elective c-section. When I spoke to the Canadian doctor’s they were shocked at the what their American counter parts charge. In the US healthcare is just a business, with little or no regard to the patients, it is all about the bottom line. After extensive research, I’ve found out that all other countries consider health care to be a basic necessity of life, not something you should make a buck on. We all agree that doctor’s work hard and deserve fair pay, but being stuck with a $22,000 after insurance is just plain ridiculous….

    • says

      Andrea,
      You’re experiences are similar to ours (only or first child wasn’t that expensive).

      I do think ridiculous is a good way to describe the exorbitant fees we are sometimes charged for health services in the US.

    • Bunmi says

      Hi Andrea,

      Congrats on the baby…. I have my first in the US and it set us back just a little over $10,000 without insurance. I wanted to ask where in Canada you had your baby and the name of the hospital…. You can please send me a mail. Thanks.

  20. funmi says

    Hi andrea smith,

    Pls when did u have your baby. I am pregant and will be having the baby in canadani have no inssurance and would love to pay from my pocket.could u gave me heads on how much I will likly pay.I will be have a elective C-section. Thanks

  21. lotus says

    hiii ……
    i am thinking of going to my brother in usa as he and his wife are having a baby but the only thing is i am preg too. my brother said u should deleiever here too. i have already lost 2 girls already so my brother wants me to go to la and have the baby.
    please tell me how much to exp? i can easily afford 15000 but more than that is too much . also i wud be seeing doctors is thta expensive?
    LOTUS

    • says

      Lotus,
      Unfortunately, I’ve provided all the information I have in the post. You’ll need to contact that actual doctor and hospital to get location specific rates.
      I hope it all goes well.

  22. Diana says

    I’m so thankful for this article and everyone’s comments.

    I am Canadian but have been living in the States with my husband since we were married in 2009. We had our first two babies in the States WITH MAT INSURANCE and paid out of pocket $1400 for prenatal care, $2000 total for hospital bill. However, our maternity insurance plan cost an extra $300 a month for the year contract. This means that to have a baby we paid $7000 each. Thinking we would “wait” for another baby, we cut the maternity coverage to save the $300 a month. I’m now expecting my third and am wanting to go to Canada for prenatal and birth, but I think my OHIP won’t cover it since I’ve been out of the country for too long!!

    I’m trying to figure out how much I would have to have a baby in a hospital in Canada WITHOUT INSURANCE. Is it cheaper to have a baby in Canada or the US? I’m tempted to TRY to use OHIP and close my eyes when/IF I get the bill?

    • says

      Diana,
      I think you’re right about not being eligible for OHIP. If you’ve not been in Canada and paying the taxes then it would make sense that you are not eligible.
      Like I said in the post without insurance we would have paid much, much less in Canada than the US. If you’re looking for the cheapest place to have the baby I’d definitely go with Canada.

  23. Ghanshyam says

    Hi,
    I would be joining a company X in US (on H1B) after a month. My wife is pregnant (will be 6 months when I join). Assuming Company X has a group insurance/health plan that provides maternity benefits, is it safe to assume that the baby delivery cost etc will all be taken care of if I get enrolled in that group plan?

    This is what I understood from this article on HIPAA here: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/publications/yhphipaa.html

    Is my understanding correct?

    • says

      If the company has open enrollment and maternity is a benefit of the insurance then you should be good to go.
      You need to personally confirm this information as I’m speaking in general terms not giving you legal or professional advice.

  24. Raj Mehta says

    In India, the cost of delivering a baby is Rs 40000 for normal delivery and Rs 75000 for C section. In US dollars, it turns out to be 800 and 1500 dollars respectively.
    Saves a lot of money to deliver in India.

    • says

      Raj,
      Thanks for letting us know. I know a missionary who lives in India who arranges for Americans to travel to India for surgery because it is much cheaper and the doctors are very highly qualified.

  25. Emily says

    I’m an American living in Finland. I had my son in June of 2009. Everything is free, prenatal visits and all of his checkups since. We also received a maternity package with all kinds of clothes and outer wear(snowsuit, etc.). We expected to receive a bill for my 3 night hospital stay, but it never came.

  26. says

    Paying for a doula is excellent insurance. Lessens the chance of a c.section up to 60%, lessens the need for drugs, increased breastfeeding rates. A midwife is even better, they offer all of that and more. Most midwives (homebirth) in the US charge between 1800-4000, and in many states insurance will cover it. With midwives CPM, it is an all inclusive fee for services. Better outcomes, less money and safer for mom and baby.

  27. Rachel says

    I’m an American living in New Zealand (married to a New Zealander and have residency)

    I had my first baby here 7 months ago and the only costs I paid were a $50 fee towards two of my 3D ultrasounds. All drs visits relating to pregnancy are ‘free’ (well there is a reasonable income/goods tax rate in NZ!) Midwives are the main LMCs–I delivered naturally with my midwife at a birthing unit and stayed 2 nights (at no cost).

    All children’s dr appointments are free until they are 5 yrs old. My daughter has been in hospital twice with feeding issues and now is fed via a naso-gastric feeding tube, and is scheduled to have surgery to put the tube into her stomach in the next month. I do not have to pay for this. We have to wait awhile on a waiting list since it’s ‘public’ health (if we had private insurance she would have had the surgery by now) but since it’s not life-threatening we’re willing to wait.

    I’m thankful to not have the ‘worry’ about vital medical treatment I had growing up in the US. People ask if I’d like to move back to the US and health care is one of the hugest reasons why I wouldn’t want to (also vacation time! it’s standard to start with at least 4 weeks of vacation a year here–sometimes 6 weeks) Also auto insurance is high in the US compared to New Zealand.

    • says

      Rachel,
      Our family has been to New Zealand a few times and loved it. I was surprised to read the the costs were significantly lower than in Canada.

      I’m glad that readers will have another country as a framework with which to compare the price of US delivery expenses. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  28. Jack says

    Hi,

    I am PhD student in the UK and visiting a university in Canada for six months. My wife is pregnant. what is the cheapest option for us to baby delivery in Canada?

    • says

      Jack,
      The best advice I can give is to call around to a few of the hospitals and ask them how much it would cost. I hope everything goes well with your wife’s pregnancy.

  29. Emma says

    I had a baby 10 months ago, I have lived in Canada my whole life. It did not cost me a single penny to give birth. Not a dime, not a nickel. Except for parking :)
    I’m having my second child in March.

  30. says

    I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WITH ALL DO RESPECT TO MOTHERS AND FATHERS OF ALL KIND , HOW DO PEOPLE OWN WELFARE /PUBLIC ASSISTANCE CAN AFFORD TO NOT HAVE A JOB IN SOME CASES NEVER HAVING A JOB WHEN THEY HAVE MULTIPLE CHILDREN . DOESA THE TAX PAYERS PICK UP THE COST AND WHY I KNOW KNOW WHY THIS COUNTRY IS BROKE IF THIS IS WHAT OUR SOCIETY ENCOURAGE IT NOT FAIR TO ANY HARD WORKING PERSON LESS LONE PEOPLE WHO HAVE ONLY ONE OR LESS BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO WORK AND PAID FOR THEIR FAMILY WHO DECIDE .

  31. dabambz says

    I live in Canada. During the pregnancy we all had the ultrasound and blood work done through a lab at no cost to us. When my wife gave birth there were complications; she had pre clamsia. We had to stay in the hospital for a week. We had medical insurance from work that paid for an upgraded room and parking, but the rest was covered by our universal health care. Then our baby had his follow up shots by our public health nurse. Everything cost us $0.

    So my jaw dropped when I saw the cost of giving birth in the US. If my wife were to give birth in the US, it would cost as much as a luxury vehicle. I can’t imagine the financial burden some people are put through just because they are pregnant.

    • says

      Yes. It is hard for most Canadians to imagine how expensive it is to have a baby in the US. It is interesting to think about what type of a vehicle a person could buy in exchange for the cost of delivering a baby. In the end, I’d still rather have the kid.
      :).

  32. Diana says

    Hi, all

    I posted earlier about the costs of having a baby in Canada without OHIP. As it turned out, I returned home to Canada just to have the baby. I used my old red and white Health card and it went through without a problem. I didn’t have to pay a single fee for prenatal care and the birth of the baby while I was up there. And now, I’m receiving a monthly baby bonus check from Canada (though I do think this is incorrect and have notified them)! I think it’s crazy how in one country (US) you PAY thousands of dollars to have a baby even WITH insurance and then on another country (Canada), they pay YOU to have a baby! Needless to say, we’re moving.

  33. HARPREET KAUR says

    HI DR
    I HAVE QUESTION MY SISTER IN LAW IN INDIA SHE IS COMING TO CANADA AS A VISITOR AND SHE WANT TO DELIVER THE BABY IN CANADA .CAN U PLS GIVE ME A IDIA HOW IT WILL COST IN TOTAL WITH OUT INSURANCE.

    • says

      Harprett,
      I’ve included all the information I know in the post. If you need more specific numbers I’d suggest you contact a hospital in the area of Canada where you are planning to visit.

  34. says

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  35. Zina says

    HI DR
    first thanks a lot for this useful information …. i am 9 month pregnant and i am currently in Ontario, Canada as a visitor,,,,, i can give birth any minute now and i am very stressed out about the fees to deliver a baby in Victoria hospital at Ontario …. i called the hospital to ask about the approximate fees and i told them i am a visitor and i dont have OHIP … so they did not give me that information … so can you please help me and tell me what to expect and how much am i going to pay for a vaginal delivery in Victoria hospital , Ontario???

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