This is the best state to give birth👇

But how can we make *ALL* states reach this same high standard?

best state to give birth

From Massachusetts to Maine, New Hampshire to Nevada, expecting moms have one thing in common: they want to give birth to a healthy baby in a safe environment. While the stress of childbirth can already make this a challenge, COVID-19 has made it harder to ensure a problem-free, and in some cases, a cost-efficient delivery. Some states are weathering the storm more effectively than others.

How does your state measure up? Wallethub provides an answer, with a recent survey listing the best states to give birth.

Peering into the metrics of the 50 states along with Washington D.C., Wallethub examined several areas related to having a baby. Each state received a numeric score out 100 points. The survey looked at the following:

  • Cost — obtaining health insurance, labor and delivery charges and childcare after delivery
  • Healthcare – hospital infrastructure, number of positive COVID-19 tests, infant mortality and preterm births
  • Baby friendliness – child-care centers and parental-leave policies
  • Family friendliness – education, family fun and safety

Taking the factors into account, Massachusetts tops the list. With an overall score of 68.81, the state ranks high in family friendliness and baby friendliness.

Right on its heels is Minnesota. With the number two spot overall, The North Star State ranked number one for family friendliness.

Third-ranked Vermont nabbed the highest rank in the healthcare category. According to the CDC COVID Data Tracker, Vermont has one of the lowest positive test counts in the nation with just over 1500.

Fourth on the best states list is North Dakota, which takes the top spot in the cost category. As of December 2019, Business Insider notes that the average labor and delivery cost topped $10,000. The midwestern state earns high marks for being cost-effective.

Rounding out the top five is Rhode Island, with a total score of 63.35. The state came in second for baby friendliness.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Alabama is the worst state to have a baby, with an overall score of 25.25. The state came in last for baby friendliness. South Carolina was 50th, and also in 50th place for healthcare. Other states rounding out the bottom designation are Mississippi, Louisiana, and Georgia.

What to do if your state ranks low

As a mom in Georgia, I know how daunting it is to see your state near the bottom of the list. While there's no way to guarantee you won't run into problems no matter where you give birth, you can try to take steps to make your delivery as safe and cost-effective as possible.

Not all hospital charges are equal. By the same token, not all doctor charges are equal. A birthing center may be a better fit for you. Do a little digging during your pregnancy to find out about the costs and billing practices and what is available in your area.

Find out where to check-in when you arrive at the hospital. Why will this make a difference? Some facilities now allow women in labor to bypass the emergency room, where they would normally check-in. Having a location that's less likely to have you sitting next to someone sick with coronavirus can go a long way toward lowering your anxiety level.

During the pandemic, consider wearing a mask. Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston notes on its website that it is "requiring all patients, visitors and staff to wear masks to help prevent (the) spread of infection." With Massachusetts' high rank in the healthcare arena, the practice appears to be working.

And lastly, contact your lawmakers about birth practices, maternal health and infant safety in your state and let them know this matters to you as voter.

Mama, please know this: While the Wallethub survey provides valuable information, no matter where you reside, you can create a safe and welcoming environment for your newest edition, and you can demand that of your hospital.

LaKeisha Fleming is a proud wife and homeschooling mother to her two sons. If that's not enough to keep her busy, she’s also the founder and president of Vision 2:2 Productions, LLC, a multimedia production company that creates television, film, digital and print content. Visit her website at

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

Keep reading Show less

A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

Keep reading Show less