How Much Does It Cost to Give Birth?

Mar 11, 2024

A Google search for how much it costs to give birth had me feeling unseen. Based on actual responses from real moms in the U.S., here’s how much it really costs. 

Based on 20 initial submissions of actual expenses incurred by moms who’ve recently delivered babies, the average out of pocket cost to give birth was $4,320. This does not include ongoing health insurance premiums.

how much it costs to give birth

You can access the full dataset of pregnancy, labor, & delivery expenses here. The spreadsheet includes out of pocket costs paid, out of pocket maximums, and what each mother’s total cost would have been without insurance.

It also includes some labor and delivery stories and pro-tips from other moms. The stories are riveting, but they’re not on the recommended reading list for your third trimester. Proceed with caution. 🙂

If you’d like to contribute your own costs to the spreadsheet, access the Google form here. This effort is driven purely by women who have volunteered data. Thanks for considering! 

How the childbirth cost spreadsheet came to be

After coming to terms with the prospect of paying $10,000 to deliver my own baby in January of 2024, I launched into compulsive Google searching for how much it costs to give birth.

What was everyone else paying? Who can afford this racket? The top Google search results only elevated my agita.

According to research by Forbes, in 2024, the average American woman will pay $2,655 to deliver a baby vaginally. In Pennsylvania, where I live, giving birth costs $1,241 on average.

I felt…triggered.

After rifling through a few layers of data sources, I learned that Forbes used data for for large employer health insurance plans only. This is why their figures seemed so low compared to my experience and what other moms had anecdotally shared with me. 

I suppose their numbers are technically fair to publish as an “average,” since 54% of working Americans are employed by larger companies, but it does leave out the substantial minority of us who are working for small businesses that tend to face higher health insurance costs

For women who are financially planning to have a baby who don’t have cushy corporate insurance, these figures are misleading. That’s why I set out on this financial planning crusade with the only weapon I know how to wield: data. The goal of this mini project is to more clearly answer the question How much does it cost to give birth?

Why childbirth costs matter

When you arrive home with your bundle of joy, your hospital bills are soon to follow. Even though it takes two people to make a baby, those bills will show up in one person’s name: the mother’s. For single mothers or families under financial stress, this is problematic.

If your partner nopes-out of sharing the cost of pregnancy and birth, you’re on your own. Not only must women carry and birth children, but we’re footing the bill, too.

My goal is to make how much childbirth costs less opaque, so women can make informed choices around budgeting, care, and insurance selection.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult with your financial advisor.


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