Speak to an agent

Average Childbirth Costs & How to Pay With Health Insurance

The average cost of childbirth is $13,024 for a vaginal delivery without insurance.

But with a Silver health insurance plan, the average cost of pregnancy care and delivery is $6,940. The costs for labor, delivery and the medical care you and your newborn get when you give birth can add up quickly. Knowing the average costs might help you plan ahead.

Find Cheap Health Insurance Quotes in Your Area

Currently insured?
icon
No spam. No hassle. No hidden costs.

How much does it cost to have a baby?

The average cost of a vaginal birth is $13,024, including costs like facility fees and doctor fees.

A cesarean section (C-section) is much more expensive, costing an average of $22,646. This includes predelivery and postdelivery expenses, like the costs associated with surgery preparation and recovery.

Procedure
Average cost
Vaginal delivery$13,024
C-section$22,646

If you have health insurance, the cost to have a baby will depend on your plan's benefits. Your deductible, copayment amounts, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum will all affect how much you pay for labor and delivery. You'll also likely pay the lowest amounts if you choose an in-network doctor. Some health insurance plans don't cover out-of-network doctors or hospitals at all. With other plans, you might still have coverage, but you'll pay more than you would with an in-network doctor.

The average cost of care during a healthy pregnancy and childbirth is $6,940 with health insurance.

These average childbirth costs are for births with no complications. But even with a typical birth, costs vary based on the hospital system you use, your state and your city. Your cost can also vary depending on the options you choose during your birth. Having an epidural is likely to raise the price, for example.

The cost of childbirth also changes if you're considering alternative delivery methods. Some pregnant women opt for births outside of a hospital. You could use a midwife for maternity care, deliver at a birthing center or even have your baby at home. Costs will generally be lower in these settings, but your choices will be different than they would be in a hospital.

Cost of hospital births

Nearly 99% of births in the U.S. take place in hospitals, making childbirth the most common reason for hospitalization. If you give birth in a hospital, you’ll spend at least one night there. If you’ve had a C-section, you'll probably be hospitalized for longer.

Based on a sample insurance plan from HealthCare.gov, routine labor and delivery could cost $7,540.

During your labor, you may need nurses, anesthesiologists and an obstetrician or midwife. Your baby might be monitored during the labor. After the baby is born, there will likely be follow-up care for you and your child. The costs for all these elements add up.

Delivery charges
Cost
Mother’s charges$2,700
Routine care$2,100
Baby charges$900
Anesthesia$900
Tests$500
Show All Rows

How much does it cost to have a baby in each state?

The state you live in has a large impact on your childbirth costs. The cost for a vaginal delivery varies by more than $30,000 between states, and the cost of a C-section changes by more than $50,000.

The average cost of a vaginal birth by state

Maryland is the most expensive state for both vaginal deliveries and C-sections. Oklahoma has the cheapest cost for vaginal deliveries, while Vermont has the lowest price for C-sections.

Find Cheap Health Insurance in Your Area

Currently insured?
icon
No spam. No hassle. No hidden costs.

Average cost of childbirth by state before insurance

State
Delivery
C-section
Alabama$12,945$17,191
Alaska$17,352$22,182
Arizona$15,634$30,929
California$14,858$35,282
Connecticut$23,636$30,913
Show All Rows

Cost of having a baby with insurance

If you have health insurance, your average cost of pregnancy care and childbirth ranges from $460 to $8,224, based on the plan's benefits.

Your childbirth costs will depend on the details of your health insurance plan. You have to meet your plan's deductible before your health insurance will pay. You may also have copays and coinsurance, which will add to your out-of-pocket cost. But you'll never pay more than your out-of-pocket maximum for covered medical care.

When having a baby, paying more for a better health insurance plan often leads to lower overall costs.

With a typical pregnancy, a Platinum plan could save you an average of $6,036 on pregnancy and childbirth costs versus a Bronze plan. A Platinum plan costs an average of $144 more per month than a Bronze plan, but the savings could make it worth it.

The plan tier you choose will affect how much you pay, and the costs vary by more than $6,000.

Costs by plan tier for a healthy pregnancy and delivery

Plan tier
Total cost
Bronze$12,496
Silver$12,400
Gold$8,984
Platinum$6,460

Medical costs are for a healthy pregnancy and normal delivery. The total cost reflects insurance, pregnancy and delivery.

The medical costs for a typical pregnancy and childbirth do not reach the out-of-pocket maximum for these examples, which caps the amount that the person would pay for medical care during the year. A pregnancy or birth with complications might reach a plan's out-of-pocket maximum. Even if this happens, the higher-cost Platinum plan still leads to the lowest overall costs.

In a situation with childbirth complications, choosing a Platinum-tier plan could save you about $3,000 to $4,000 over the year.

Costs by plan tier for births with complications

Plan tier
Total cost
Bronze$12,620
Silver$14,115
Gold$12,977
Platinum$10,000

Medical costs reflect complications during birth that reach the plan's out-of-pocket maximum. The total cost reflects insurance, pregnancy and delivery.

Questions to ask your health insurance provider

Because health insurance benefits vary, you may want to ask questions to make sure you understand your coverage before you give birth.

Question: Are the costs for pregnancy and childbirth capped at the individual level, or will the total family deductible and out-of-pocket maximum apply?

In most cases, family insurance plans will have both a deductible and out-of-pocket max for each individual as well as for the entire family on the plan. This is significant because the cost of labor and delivery for a new mother is so high.

With most health plans, the mother's costs will be capped at the individual level, with an out-of-pocket maximum as high as $9,450 for marketplace plans in 2024. However, if expensive health care is needed for the other family members, your household spending may also hit the family out-of-pocket maximum, which can't be higher than $18,900.

Understanding how your insurance plan's individual and family benefits work can help you to better prepare for medical bills. Even if you have reached your individual spending cap, your family and newborn could still have additional medical bills.

Question: Once I add my new baby to my plan, when will their medical bills start to count toward their deductible, copays and coinsurance?

Some plans cover the newborn’s hospital care under the mother’s cost-sharing requirements until both are released from the hospital. Others consider the baby a new individual family member from the date of their birth, which means that their bills start to count toward their own deductible and cost sharing. These costs might include their hospital stay, physician visits and lab tests.

Also, note that if you don’t already have a family plan, the addition of your baby can push you into one. This will probably make your health insurance more expensive.

How your health insurer handles these issues can make a difference of thousands of dollars to your family budget.

How health insurance covers childbirth

Health insurers are required to cover maternity care and childbirth. This is one of the 10 essential health benefits required by the Affordable Care Act. Most plans have to give you coverage for at least these health situations.

Health insurance plans can require pregnant women to pay for a portion of their costs for labor and delivery, and most plans do. Your newborn may also start getting their own medical bills from the moment they are born. Insurance plans for families can charge deductible and out-of-pocket costs for each covered individual, including your new baby, up to a predetermined maximum.

Does insurance cover home birth?

Home births are often not fully covered by insurance companies.

Your insurance company might pay for some of the cost or decline your coverage entirely. Having a home birth can be cheaper, but you may end up with higher out-of-pocket costs compared to a hospital birth since your insurance might not cover it.

The average cost of a home birth in the United States is $4,650. But costs can change based on what state you live in. The lowest state price is $2,000, and the highest state price is $9,921. States in the Northeast and the Southeast have the highest average costs for home birth.

Because insurance plans vary widely in how they cover midwives and birthing centers, it's a good idea to talk to your insurer before you make any decisions.

Cost of childbirth without insurance

If you don’t have health insurance, you’ll be responsible for all the costs for prenatal care and the birth of your child. However, many states make it easier for pregnant women to enroll in Medicaid or a state-sponsored health insurance program. These programs often mean your health care will be free or low-cost.

In California, for example, a pregnant single woman with no other children can get Medicaid even if she earns up to $31,055 per year.

If she were not pregnant, she would have to earn less than $20,120 to qualify.

If you can’t get coverage through a public program and don't have health insurance from your job, you can buy a plan through the health insurance marketplace or directly from an insurance company. A marketplace plan will usually be the cheapest because there are discounts available for those who have a low to moderate income. However, there are timing restrictions on when you can sign up for a marketplace plan.

If you're pregnant and uninsured, you can only sign up for marketplace insurance:

If you use the special enrollment period after childbirth, the cost to deliver the baby won't be covered by the plan.

To avoid being uninsured when giving birth, you can also get health insurance for your pregnancy from an insurance company rather than through the marketplace. The monthly costs for a plan may be high, but they won't be as high as paying full price to deliver the baby. Make sure the policy doesn't exclude pregnancy, though. Some plans, like short-term health insurance plans, usually don't cover it.

If you don’t have health insurance during childbirth, you may be able to negotiate prices with the doctor and hospital. However, be aware that without insurance, your expenses for a complicated delivery or a seriously ill newborn could reach into the high tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of dollars.

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to give birth?

A vaginal delivery costs $13,024 and a C-section costs $22,646, on average. These prices are before insurance coverage. If you have health insurance, you'll probably pay less. These are also the average costs for labor without complications or other interventions. You'll pay more if you need more medical care during your labor and delivery.

How much is prenatal care without insurance?

Most women have up to 15 prenatal visits during their pregnancy, and each visit could cost up to $500. It also depends on the care you need. A sonogram costs about $202, for example. If you have a high-risk pregnancy or otherwise need more medical care, your prenatal costs will probably be higher.

Can I get health insurance if I'm pregnant?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) says that pregnancy can't be considered a preexisting condition. With most plans, you can't be denied health insurance coverage for your pregnancy, even if you are already pregnant when you apply. Some plans don't have to follow this rule though. Short-term health insurance, for example, often considers pregnancy a preexisting condition and doesn't cover it. Being pregnant also doesn't qualify you for a special enrollment period to


Methodology

The average cost of childbirth without insurance is based on ValuePenguin's independent research on vaginal births versus cesarean deliveries using hospital transparency data from the largest hospital systems in most states. Data was not available for Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Tennessee or Wisconsin.

The average cost of childbirth for those with health insurance is based on marketplace health insurance plans offered in Arlington, Va., with averages across the 53 plans offered by Bright Health, Cigna, Kaiser Permanente, Innovation Health and UnitedHealthcare. Included are the costs of the health insurance plan, pregnancy care and childbirth. Medical costs are based on HealthCare.gov's calculation for the "cost for a healthy pregnancy and normal delivery."

The average cost of a home birth is from "The Cost of Home Birth in the United States," a 2021 study that analyzed the cost of home births in all 50 states. Additional sources include the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), HealthCare.gov and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Editorial note: The content of this article is based on the author's opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.