How Much Does Baby Delivery Cost?

Written by: Staff

Because of the wide range of issues concerning child birth, the cost for something like this can only be estimated.  There are many things that can have an effect on the actually cost, such as whether it was a natural birth or Cesarean; whether or not there were any kind of complications; whether or not the mother received an epidural; whether the mother’s room is private or shared; and many other factors.  Although the cost of some of these things can be discussed before the birth of the baby, others can only be guessed and the total bill may be much different from what you expected.

In his hospital bassinet (enhanced) by SmartGoat, on Flickr
In his hospital bassinet (enhanced)” (CC BY 2.0) by  SmartGoat

How much does it cost to deliver a baby?

A natural childbirth with no complications will cost anywhere from $8,000 to $16,000.  This price depends on the hospital, part of the country (cost of living), and health of the baby.  Remember, this won’t include the cost of prenatal care, which can be in excess of $2,000.

A childbirth by way of Cesarean will cost anywhere from $12,000 to $24,000.  This price also depends on the hospital and part of the country, but also the reason for the Cesarean delivery.

Most insurance companies cover the cost of childbirth, but the family will usually have to pay a copay (usually 5-20%) or deductible (usually $1,000-$3,000).  Those with insurance pay only a small percentage of the figures discussed above.

According to a recent study done by, Maryland charged the least amount for all methods of birth.  When compared to other reporting websites, these hospitals charged $3,000 to $4,000 less for a vaginal birth and $7,500 to $10,000 for cesarean births.  New Jersey charged the most for complicated and uncomplicated births, approximately $10,000 to $13,000 more than other reporting hospitals.

According to this forum thread on the website, users claimed that their baby delivery cost ranged anywhere from $1,500 with insurance to as much as $35,000 with complications. notes the cost of having a baby will be steep.  If you have a complicated cesarean, it could cost about $15,800.  On the other hand, an uncomplicated natural birth can cost $9,600, according to government data.

Baby delivery overview

This cost includes the mother’s time in the labor and delivery as well as the actual birth of the child.

Also included is the newborn’s stay in the nursery for approximately 2 nights.  This depends on the time of day the baby was born, if there were complications, and the health of the mother.

A one to two-night stay for the mother is typical, with all meals included in the price.

A routine check-up by the pediatrician will be performed before the baby leaves the hospital.

All the formula and diapers for the baby are included during the stay at the hospital.  Many times, the hospital sends you home with a bad of extras as well.

What are the extra costs?

In some cases, the mother is given a drug, known as Pitocin, to help the delivery progress faster.  This is often an additional cost.

If the mother chooses to receive an epidural, she will be charged for it.

If there are any complications with the mother or the child, the cost will increase greatly.

While many hospitals only have private rooms available, some hospitals have private and semi-private (shared with one other family).  In this case, the private room will be more expensive.

If the child is a boy and is going to be circumcised, there will be an extra charge for that procedure.  This is often around $200.

Tips to know:

Take a tour of the hospital before the pregnancy begins.  This is going to give you the opportunity to see what the hospital can offer, what the nurses are like and can give you a good feel for what the hospital layout is like.

Consider taking classes through the hospital before the delivery.  These classes can help with preparations, tours of the hospital, as well as exercises such as breathing techniques to make the delivery as smooth as possible.

You may want to talk with your health insurance provider before giving birth.  Depending on the insurance carrier’s policy, some may want to be notified ahead of time.

Baby delivery questions to ask:

When should I come into the hospital?  What do you recommend?

How long will it take for my primary health provider to see me?

Will my birth plan always be honored?

What exactly is allowed during my labor?

How many people can come into the room while giving birth?

What are the restrictions when giving birth?

How long will I probably stay in the hospital?

If the birth is healthy, how long will the baby have to remain in the hospital?

How can I save money?

The best way to save money on childbirth is to pay cash.  Many hospitals will take much less money for services rendered if the patient is able to pay cash up front.

Be sure to know what your insurance is going to cover.  You’re going to want to talk with your insurance company before the process even begins.  It’s common to find out that policies, such as self-employment, won’t cover maternity procedures.

If you’re thinking about getting health insurance, you may want to think again.  What you’re going to find out is that some health insurance riders are a lot more expensive than you think.  Do the math to see if it’s truly worth it.

If paying out of pocket without insurance, be sure to talk with the hospital.  Many can offer a discount for those that either meet a certain annual income or for those that pay up front.  Full cash payments can save you up to 60%.

Hypnobirthing or a midwife can be a great alternative.  These types of births are very affordable and most will work with your budget.  Aside from a midwife, you may also want to consider a birthing center rather than a hospital setting.

How can I compare prices?

Most hospitals can give you a price sheet of everything that is, or could be, included in childbirth costs.  However, since the health of mom and baby is the most important thing, the cost should not be your only concern.

Most people have access to more than one hospital within a reasonable distance from their homes.  This allows the mother-to-be the opportunity to call around and compare prices before the baby comes.

When calling a hospital, ask them if they are within your insurance network.  Even if your doctor is in network, it doesn’t mean the hospital they work worth is.

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Average Reported Cost: $4102.86

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Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Laurie (Cumberland,  Virginia) paid $6000 and said:

    I had no complications and an epidural. My OB bill was around $2,500 and the hospital bills seemed to never end. I have received a bill for the anesthesiologist, the hospital and more. The total is easily $6,000 WITH insurance.

    Was it worth it? Yes

  2. Jane (Ansley,  Nebraska) paid $20 and said:

    My husband is in the military and our bill was less than $20.

    Was it worth it? Yes

  3. Rhonda (Colorado City,  Colorado) paid $0 and said:

    Was in labor for close to two days and even had a C-section even though this wasn’t what was planned. I went through everything and thank the lucky stars my insurance was able to cover all of it.

    Was it worth it? Yes

  4. Kate (Long Island,  New York) paid $2500 and said:

    I had a natural childbirth along with my midwife. Even though my midwife couldn’t accept insurance, my insurance covered most of my hospital bill.

    Was it worth it? Yes

  5. Elena (Canton,  Ohio) paid $7000 and said:

    First off, my insurance is garbage. The deductible is high but that is a whole another story. I went into the hospital with a planned c-section and I was in the hospital for about 4 days. All in all, my total including myself and baby was about 7K!! This was two years ago and I’m still paying on the stupid hospital payment plan.

    Was it worth it? Yes

  6. Nancy (Coldwater,  Michigan) paid $6200 and said:

    First off, I envy those who had insurance that covered everything. My insurance ins’t the greatest since my deductible is close to $10,000. Because my insurance started in the middle of my birth, I was slapped with a good chunk of bills totaling at least $6,000.

    Was it worth it? Yes

  7. Lynn (Madison,  Wisconsin) paid $7000 and said:

    Be sure to check your bills as I was able to find an error that would have cost me close to $800! You will get a ton of bills so be sure to keep everything in check.

    Was it worth it? Yes

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