The latest numbers are out revealing just how much it costs to have a baby in the hospital -- just including pregnancy and labor and delivery. In about nine months' time, you can rack up a bill of $21,000 for having a single baby. If it's twins, it's more than double, with the price ballooning to $105,000. Triplets or more ... $400,000. Money, money, money. Business is booming at hospitals, right? And the more procedures they "have" to perform and the more drugs you "need," the more money they make.
If you compare these prices with how much a home birth costs, you may realize how some hospitals are really sticking it to us.
I have a friend who delivered her baby at home unassisted and it cost her $100 for supplies. Another mom friend used midwives and it cost her around $3,500. In some areas, it can cost upward of $10,000. That's still a huge difference from $21,000 in a hospital.
Yes, home births aren't for everyone, but what I'm taking away here is that all those procedures that cost so much money in the hospital isn't for everyone either, yet the doctors make you think it's just part of the whole birthing process. Um, no. It's not.
You may also have noticed that multiple pregnancies are on the rise, most likely due to success rates of IVF, but also because there are so many fertility drugs given to moms who are trying to conceive. I can't help but feel the dosages are too high, causing too many eggs to be released, giving women multiples. It's because doctors want women to get pregnant, and women want the drugs to work on the first try. But maybe some doctors are being a little irresponsible with the dosage just to have client satisfaction. I feel that most women go to a fertility doctor hoping to have one baby, not seven at one time. Business. Business. Business. Money. Money. Money. Multiple births, much more money, money, money.
I have twins. I love my multiples. I also saw my hospital bill, which was near $150,000. Thank goodness I had insurance. Because we all know the cost of a baby doesn't end once you leave the hospital ... it's just beginning. It costs about $250,000 to raise a baby from birth to age 17. Multiply that by the amount of kids you have and wow. Totally worth it, but that's how much they cost for life -- eating, drinking, schooling, clothing, all of that. Isn't birth a thing that can happen naturally without intervention most of the time? Why yes, yes, it sure is. But doctors don't want us thinking that because ... money, money, money, business, business, business.
We need to educate ourselves, and be mindful of what our doctors are saying and question why. When your OBGYN tells you at the beginning of your low-risk third trimester that you may need a c-section for your singleton birth because he's afraid baby is too big, you need to question his motives. C-sections cost more than vaginal births. It's major surgery and a longer hospital stay so it's more expensive. There is risk involved and too often an unnecessary risk. And I feel the same way about labor-inducing drugs when they are not needed. Too much Pitocin too soon and you have stalled labor, baby in distress, emergency c-section, longer hospital stay, and potential NICU for baby. When if there was no Pitocin, and baby made her way down the birth canal when she was ready, when your body was ready, there wouldn't be all these complications, there wouldn't be a large hospital bill. (Of course there are always exceptions.)
When these procedures are needed, they are well worth every last penny. But a hospital is still a money-making facility, it's a business, and having babies is a business, which is why we need to question everything ... including the cost and if whatever procedure or drug your doctor is pushing on you is really needed or if it's just about the money. Sure makes many of us look at home births differently. And most importantly, learn from home births that so many women can and do birth naturally, beautifully, and without intervention because it's what our bodies were made to do.
Trust your body.
Do you worry about the business of a hospital and your doctor's motives? Are you shocked over the cost of birth?
Image via Jan de Graaf/Flickr