How Much Does Prenatal Care Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

While pregnant, it is very important for a woman to take care of herself and the baby by getting regular check-ups.  These check-ups, which start monthly, then turn to bi-monthly and eventually weekly, will help the doctor determine if everything is progressing normally with your pregnancy.

1. pregnancy by TipsTimesAdmin, on Flickr
1. pregnancy” (CC BY 2.0) by  TipsTimesAdmin

How much does prenatal care cost?

On average, the total prenatal visits will cost anywhere from $1,700 to $3,000 for the entire nine months during the pregnancy.  This is without insurance and doesn’t include the baby delivery.

According to Revolution Health, the average prenatal care cost of a prenatal visit is $133.  Throughout most pregnancies, the mother will see the doctor about 14 times.  Therefore, the total average cost is $1,862.

WebMD.com states that the average person pays around $2,000 for prenatal care.

Plan on spending anywhere from $95 to as much as $200 per visit without any sort of insurance.

Depending on the type of insurance you have, you will only have to pay a percentage of this.  Most insurance companies cover anywhere from 85%-90% of costs.  Basically, you will probably have to pay about $15 per visit out of pocket.

CostsPrice Range
Prenatal visit (average of 8 to 10 total)$100 to $150 per visit
X-rays and lab tests$30 to $50 each
Ultrasounds$150 to $300 each
Delivery$6,000 for natural and $10,000 for cesarean

Prenatal care overview

At the first prenatal visit, the doctor will calculate your due date and give you information regarding not only your pregnancy but about your newborn baby.  The doctor will discuss with you things like diet and exercise, vitamins to take, birthing options, etc.  Most visits after this will simply consist of taking your weight, a urine analysis, listening to the heartbeat, and an opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

During the first appointment, the doctor will be able to determine a due date, perform an exam and will more than likely perform a pap test.  The government also requires that all women get tested for HIV.

During the subsequent appointments, the doctor will ask about how you’re feeling and if you have any concerns.  The goal of each appointment is to see how the pregnancy is proceeding and to provide you with information along the way.  Each appointment will often include checking your weight, blood pressure and taking urine samples.   As the baby grows, the OB/GYN will check the position of the baby, along with the heartbeat.

At around 20 weeks, an ultrasound will be scheduled in order to better assess the health of the baby and to find out the sex of the baby if the mother so desires.

Most appointments will include a urine sample to screen the sugar, a weight recording, the baby’s heartbeat (if applicable), the OB/GYN will check the position and your blood pressure will be checked.

You should expect to see the doctor about 12 to 15 times.

Prenatal screenings

Most of the screenings will be done throughout the pregnancy; however, some may be optional and will only be recommended if your doctor recommends it.

What are the extra costs?

If there are any complications resulting in extra testing, the total cost will increase.

If you would like additional ultrasounds, such as a 4d ultrasound, this will more than likely not be covered by insurance because it is not a necessity.  A 4d ultrasound can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 depending on what features are included in the experience.

Most doctors suggest that pregnant women take some sort of multi-vitamin.  This is usually covered by insurance except for a small copay.

The baby delivery will be considered an additional cost outside of the care.

Complications during a pregnancy can sometimes lead to extensive tests or prolonged hospital stays.  If this is the case, the cost can greatly vary depending on what has been done.

Tips to know:

During the first appointment, be sure to bring items such as your medical records, a list of medications you’re currently on, questions you may have (write these down) and a friend or husband to help support you during this process.

Before the process even begins, it’s essential to know what’s going to be covered under your health insurance policy.  Since many health insurance policies are different, one policy may cover one procedure, while another may deny it.

Consult with the hospital before the labor begins.  If paying out of pocket, the hospital will be more than happy to give a discount to those that are paying up front with cash.

If purchasing prenatal vitamins on your own, talk with your OB/GYN.  Many OB/GYNs are more than happy to give out samples for free throughout the duration of the pregnancy.  This is a great way to avoid paying the full retail price.

While a hospital delivery can be rather expensive, consider other alternatives that are cheaper such as a doula and/or midwife.  An insurance company may not cover a procedure such as this one, but many soon-to-be moms prefer this route because of the home-based setting.   See: “How much does a doula cost?

How can I save money?

Planning pregnancy ahead of time can help save confusion with the insurance company.  If you sign up for health insurance when you are already pregnant, some companies consider it a “pre-existing condition” and it will not be covered.   Keep in mind that if you sign up with a group insurance plan, they will have to cover you by law.

If you have no insurance, many doctors offices and hospitals will give discounts if you pay in cash.  These discounts are not openly offered, however;  you must inquire and bargain with them.

Uninsured women who meet certain financial guidelines will find that there are many programs that can help with the cost of the care.

Most OB/GYNs are more than happy to provide you with prenatal vitamins for free.  If you can’t afford the vitamins, let them know.

Prenatal care low-income options:

Local Health Department

Your local health department should be able to provide you with some programs that they run at a lower cost or even for free.  To connect with a local health department in your area, call 1-800-311-BABY.

Medical Schools

Many bigger medical schools will run clinics for the public.  Working with medical students that are supervised, you can get care at a fraction of the cost.

Planned Parenthood

Like the health department, planned parenthood can provide care based on your salary.

Medicaid

This is a program sponsored by the government for those who meet certain income guidelines.  If accepted to this program, you will get a list of doctors that you can see for care.

How to choose a prenatal care provider:

Doula

Similar to a midwife, a doula is more like a coach.  They will help with physical and emotional support during the labor.  A doula will often work with a midwife during the labor process.  If using a doula, make sure that you check with your insurance company to see if you’re covered.

Midwife

A certified midwife is great for women who are considered to be at low-risk.  Educated in nursing, a midwife can practice at hospitals and a birthing center.  Many prefer to deliver babies in the patient’s home.

Family Practice

Family doctors can provide care during a pregnancy but it may not be as detailed as an OB.  They can do just about everything, except for cesarean deliveries.

Obstetricians

Medical doctors who specialize in delivering babies.  They will also have special training with surgeries such as a cesarean section.  Women who think that they are at the highest risk during a pregnancy should consider this specialty.

How can I compare prices?

Because we are talking about the health of you and your baby, you should choose a doctor and hospital according to their credentials and your comfort level, not according to price.

When choosing a provider, research their reputation, their bedside manner, office location, where you deliver and how they handle off-hour calls.


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