How Much Pregnancy Costs And How To Pay For It
Having a baby is a joyful experience and a life milestone - but there’s no denying that it can be expensive.
With the average cost of healthcare for mothers and newborn babies hovering around the $20,000 mark, it’s essential to budget for these expenses well in advance.
In this article, we’ll take you through each semester of pregnancy and its associated costs to help you with your planning.
The Various Costs You Can Expect
You may be wondering: how much does the average pregnancy cost with insurance? Each trimester of pregnancy has its own unique medical requirements that correspond to the development of your baby.
You’ll want to take steps from the very beginning to ensure the healthy growth and development of your unborn child. These include:
- Prenatal Vitamins: Your doctor will recommend special types of vitamins that are formulated to boost your health and help your baby to develop. You can buy these over the counter at an approximate cost of $15-$20 per month or have them prescribed and pay for them at the standard rate if you have health insurance for pregnancy.
- Lab Tests: You’ll need to undergo several blood tests to measure factors like your hemoglobin level, Rh status, blood type, and the presence of infections along with early-stage birth defects. These are usually covered by your health insurance with costs varying broadly.
- Ultrasounds: This scan is used to check the location of the fetus, examine your baby’s early development, and find out whether you’re expecting a single baby or twins. Costs start around the $650-$700 level.
The second trimester is the time when your baby starts to develop rapidly - and you’ll need a variety of screenings to ensure that both of you are in good health. These include:
- Advanced Ultrasound: Between weeks 16 and 20, you’ll be due for the main ultrasound scan of your pregnancy. This is an exciting day for new parents because you’ll probably be able to find out what gender your baby will be. The costs of this procedure are usually covered by your health insurer.
- Glucose Screening: Shortly after your ultrasound (in week 24-28), you’ll need to have a test to ensure that you aren’t at risk of developing gestational diabetes. This usually costs around $100 but may be covered by your insurance.
- Amniocentesis: This essential procedure involves an examination of the amniotic fluid that surrounds your unborn baby - but it can cost more than $7000 if you’re uninsured. That’s why it's so important to have the best insurance plan for pregnancy.
There are several final preparations you’ll want to make during the last three months of your pregnancy.
- Buying Baby Gear: Your baby will need diapers, clothing, bedding, a crib, toys, bottles and sterilizing equipment, a night light, a baby monitor, a stroller, and a car seat - and that’s just a basic list of requirements. These expenses can run into thousands of dollars and aren’t covered by health insurance.
- Birthing Classes: Specialized classes that explain the biology of childbirth and prepare you to go into labor in a healthy way are essential. You can expect to pay anything from $60 to $100 or more per class.
- Labor & Delivery: The single biggest cost you’re likely to encounter during your pregnancy is the hospital bill you receive after your baby is born. The exact amount will depend on where you live, your healthcare provider, and whether you opt for a natural birth or cesarean. Prices could range from $10,000 to more than $30,000 and should ideally be covered by your insurance.
How Medicaid Can Help
If you’ve gone through the costs above or used a pregnancy cost calculator and are concerned about your ability to pay for the expenses involved with a baby, you may want to consider applying for government assistance.
- Medicaid is being extended in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and if your income qualifies, you could be eligible to join even if you don’t meet some of the traditional criteria.
- Since this program is run at the state level, you’ll want to check the requirements online and find out if you qualify or not.
How To Reduce Costs
There are several steps you can take to keep your budget intact while you prepare to have a baby. These include:
- Contacting Your Health Insurer: You’ll need to know what your current agreement covers you for and upgrade it if necessary.
- Calculate Your Out Of Pocket Expenses: Knowing how much you’ll need to pay will help you budget effectively.
- Consider An FSA: Flexible Spending Accounts allow you to save $2,650 of your pretax income toward medical expenses.
- Timing Is Key: If you become pregnant and give birth in the same year you’ll only have to pay one deductible instead of two.
- Assistance Is Available: The Affordable Care Act means that items like breast pumps can be obtained free of charge after your baby is born.
Having a baby is a key milestone in your life - and it shouldn’t be unaffordable. By knowing exactly what your pregnancy costs are likely to look like and planning accordingly, you’ll be able to budget for the financial side of becoming a parent.
It’s important to know what your insurer will cover - and what deductibles, copayments, and out of pocket limits apply. You may also want to explore Medicaid and other types of support programs if your income falls into an appropriate category.