Facility Labor and Birth Charges by Site and Mode of Birth,
United States, 2008-2010

The cost of having a baby varies depending on the place of birth (hospital or birth center), the way you give birth (vaginal or cesarean birth), and whether there are complications.

There are many costs associated with having a baby, but for most women, the fee charged by the birth facility is the most expensive. The average hospital charge for an uncomplicated vaginal birth is about five times the average birth center charge for a vaginal birth. Hospital charges skyrocket when there are complications and when the birth is by cesarean section.

It is difficult to find out ahead of time how much a specific hospital charges for a vaginal birth or cesarean section because they often charge different amounts to different insurance companies, and don’t generally disclose these prices publicly. Women with no insurance usually pay more than insurance companies, who negotiate a lower price. In addition, charges vary across counties and states, with no clear pattern. There is an active movement to increase price transparency in health care to enable consumers and health care payers to make more informed choices.

A chart showing the average facility labor and birth charges by site (hospital or birth center) and mode of birth (vaginal or cesarean) is available from Childbirth Connection’s Transforming Maternity Care Partnership.

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Childbirth Connection is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1918 as Maternity Center Association. Our mission is to improve the quality of maternity care through research, education, advocacy and policy. Childbirth Connection promotes safe, effective and satisfying evidence-based maternity care and is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families.
Most recent page update: 11/16/2012