Prenatal Care Costs
Return To Main Guide
|How Much Does Prenatal Care Cost?
Studies show that pregnant women who attend regular prenatal visits are more likely to have a safe pregnancy and delivery than those who do not. In fact a baby born to a mother who has not received prenatal care is 3 times more likely to be born at a low birth weight and 5 times more likely to die than those whose mothers do receive adequate care. These statistics are not meant to scare, but rather demonstrate the importance of prenatal care. Yet, the cost of those visits to OB/GYNs and hospital can add up, so do be sure to budget for the cost of your medical care.
Most health insurance plans cover maternity costs, but may not include out-of-pocket expenses. If you are not insured, you may be paying all the costs yourself. Over 41 million Americans are uninsured, which means roughly 13 percent of women who become pregnant each year are not insured. The final cost depends on the health of you and your baby, and if the 9 months progresses with or without pregnancy issues. The estimated average cost of delivery alone is between $6,000 and $8,000 for a regular pregnancy, which becomes a lot higher if it is a high-risk pregnancy. An average ordinary pregnancy, all–in, can come to about $10,000. Another challenge is that many health insurance providers consider pregnancy a 'pre-existing' condition, so cover is only possible before the woman becomes pregnant. Medicaid, which is federally funded for low-income individuals, will also only accept a woman who is already pregnant.
On average, with a normal pregnancy, you can expect to see the OB/GYN about 12 to 14 times. According to a study carried out by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2007 the average total cost for these prenatal care visits was $1,962. Prenatal tests, lab blood works and pregnancy ultrasound scans may increase these costs. For example an ultrasound can cost on average between $270 and $360, depending on the State you live in.
Costs of Hospital Delivery
According to the same Kaiser Family Foundation report, the average hospital delivery cost was $6,520. This cost is steadily rising; it was $3,983 in 1987 and $5,464 in 1997. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) the average costs of a vaginal birth and C-section delivery are:
These are hospital fees only. Doctor’s fees are usually charged on top of this and average $1,500. Do ask your hospital in advance for details of any payment plans they may have.
If you are planning on using the services of a doula, those costs average between $500-$1000.
Most health insurance plans cover prenatal care for women, if taken out before pregnancy. The insurance usually covers the costs of prenatal visits and the birth. It may also pay a certain percentage of blood tests, lab works and ultrasound scans. It is also possible to take out a separate maternity insurance policy. A good insurance policy should provide the following cover:
• Normal and complicated delivery costs, in hospitals or birthing centers.
The Affordable Care Act offers pregnant women more options and protection. Women in every State can now get help paying for their medical expenses and care during pregnancy.
To find out about the program in your State:
• Dial 800-311-BABY (800-311-2229). This toll-free phone number will connect you to the Health Department in your zip code.
|Related Articles on PRENATAL CARE
For more about expecting a baby, see the following:
• Amniocentesis Test - diagnostic test genetic disorders.
Return to Homepage: Womens Health Advice