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How Much Does it Cost to Have A Baby? The Breakdown

November 22, 2016

"How much does it cost to have a baby?" This is a question everyone asks. I wish there was a number I could tell you but, unfortunately, it is not that simple. The cost of childbirth depends on many different factors which are different for everyone. These factors include: what insurance (if any) do you have, is yours a high-risk pregnancy, your location and many more things. I will try as best I can to break it down for you.



First, you need to buy several items during your nine-month pregnancy that you will need the minute you bring your baby home. There are thousands of baby items out there, but you don't need all of them. Some are essential, others are gimmicky, others make life easier. But, if you're on a budget here is a list of the items you need:


  •  Baby clothes for the first several months: You may know someone who has had kids that will give you their old clothes. You can buy them from a second-hand store or buy them new. Just keep in mind that your baby will grow FAST, so the $20 cute shirt you buy brand new might only fit them once.

  • Car seat: You won't even be able to get home from the hospital without this. Like most items on this list, this has a large price range. The cheapest one I found is from Walmart for $44.98. Of course, there are more expensive ones that have additional features or may have a higher weight capacity. This is something you will want to take into consideration before making your purchase.

  • Crib: You will need this the first night! The cheapest one I found is from Kohl's and on sale for $96.79 at the time of writing this.

  • Changing Table: I suppose this isn't a necessity, a baby can be changed anywhere really. But it will make your life a lot easier. Things like their clothes, diapers and wipes will be within grabbing distance when you're changing your little guy or girl. The cheapest one I found was on sale when writing this from Babies R Us for $69.99.

  •  Diapers and Wipes: Who knows how many of these you will go through each day. You can save more if you buy them in bulk. I know each mommy has their own diaper preference. If you buy them in bulk, diapers are about $40 for a box of 250 and wipes are about $20 for a box of 1000. Both the diapers and wipes prices depend on the brand you buy.

  •   Stroller: If you want to bring your baby anywhere, you will want a stroller. These have a huge price range. The cheapest one I found was on sale from Cosco for $64. It's designed to be lightweight, so you will want to do some research before making your purchase. I have seen them range in price all the way up to $1,000. It just depends on the features you want. 

  • Monitor: I suppose this is another item that you could go without. But, if you are a worrywart like me, this will save you a lot of running back and forth to check on your baby. The cheapest one I found was on sale from Target for $29.99.

Before we get into the actual prenatal and delivery costs, there are some important questions you should ask your insurance provider. If you don't have insurance, you might want to start pricing policies. Here is what to ask your insurance provider:


  • What is your deductible?

  • Do you have co-insurance?

  • Which doctors are in your network? 

  • Do you have a co-pay for each visit to the doctor? What is your co-pay?

  • What type of prenatal care is covered?

  • Are your delivery and hospital costs covered?

  • How long can you stay in the hospital?

  • What common pregnancy/prenatal needs ARE NOT covered?

  • What tests are covered? (ultrasounds and how many, genetic testing etc.)

  • Will your newborn be covered immediately, do you have to call from the hospital to add them to your policy?

Once you know the ins and outs of your insurance plan, hopefully, you don't have any large surprise expense. Here are the expenses to expect throughout your pregnancy:


First Trimester: Your first trimester consists of finding out your due date, various lab work, monthly check-ups and prenatal vitamins. 

  • Co-pay for monthly check-ups: Depending on your insurance coverage (which you should already know intimately from above) co-pays usually range from 0-$50 per visit.

  • Prenatal vitamins: Most doctors will want you to take these vitamins. They are usually $10-$20 per bottle.

  •  Various Labs/Ultrasounds: These will depend on how your pregnancy is going so far. Ultrasounds cost around $200 per visit, but can be up to $8,000 if there is a high-risk pregnancy.


  • Cell-Free Fetal DNA Testing: These are usually given to women who have a high-risk pregnancy. It is a newer test that can determine if the fetus has a chromosome disorder resulting in Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, or Patau syndrome. This test can cost up to $2,000.

  • Chronic Villus Sampling: This test, like above, is usually given to women who have a high-risk pregnancy. It can reveal whether a baby has a chromosomal condition. 

Second Trimester: During your second trimester you will continue with your ultrasounds and monthly check-ups as well as a few more in-depth labs that will tell you about the health of your developing baby.

  • Co-pay for monthly check-ups/Ultrasounds: Depending on your insurance coverage co-pays usually range from 0-$50 per visit.

  • Glucose Screening: This routine test during pregnancy checks a pregnant woman's blood glucose (sugar) level. This can cost around $100.

  • Maternal Blood Screening: This blood test will test the baby for birth defects including Down syndrome, Edward syndrome and neural tube defects. 

  • Amniocentesis: This tests the amniotic fluid for any abnormalities or genetic disorders. This can cost around $200-$300. 

Third Trimester: Most of your labs have been completed. Your monthly visits will become more like bi-monthly visits. And then, for your last several weeks, the doctor may want to see you once a week.


Labor and Delivery: Like I said, earlier I wish I could provide you with a more accurate figure for this cost. But, every hospital and every pregnancy are different.


Most U.S. hospitals bill per service, which means a bill for:

  • Each doctor you see

  • Each pill you're given

  • Each IV fluid pouch 

  • Your room



Additional Expenses: 

  • Private room

  • Birthing Tub

  • Mid-wife

  • Complications

  • If you're induced

  • If you get an epidural

  • Extra recovery days

  • Anything extra that you receive or request

According to a 2013 study by TRUVEN HEALTH ANALYTICS MARKETSCAN® STUDY before insurance pays their portion, an uncomplicated vaginal birth costs about $30,000 and an uncomplicated C-section costs about $50,000.

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