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The United States is the most expensive country to give birth in

Prices aren’t just high—they also vary wildly.

The United States  is the most expensive country to give birth in

It’s a time when parents should be thinking about baby names and nursery decor, but for many American parents an impending birth means an impending bill and stress over money.


Indeed, the United States is the most expensive country to give birth in, and the ‘fee-for-service’ payment system may be why.

According to the International Federation of Health Plans, the average cost of a vaginal delivery in the United States is about $10,808. More recent data from health care technology firm Castlight Health suggests that number may be a bit lower, at $8,775, and nonprofit organization FAIR Health says it’s actually higher, with the average cost for a vaginal delivery coming in at $12,290.

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The variations reflect different methodologies, but all the data sets reveal one thing: Americans pay way more to give birth than parents in other nations. In countries like Sweden (where the maximum daily cost for a hospital stay is about $11 USD) or Canada (where most costs are covered by provincial health plans), parents don’t have to wonder how much they’ll pay to bring a baby home from the hospital.

Prices aren’t just high—they also vary wildly. As noted in a study published in the journal Health Affairs, the cost of a hospital stay related to a low-risk delivery can range from $1,189 to $11,986 (that’s just for facility fees and does not including the cost of an OB or a midwife).

For most families, it’s the post-delivery hospital stay that adds up. Data from Truven Health Analytics shows facility fees are a significant portion of the cost of giving birth, far outstripping fees for maternity care providers, pharmacy, radiology and imaging, laboratory, and anesthesiology services.

And once you add in everything, the total of a family’s bill depends a lot on where they live. A vaginal delivery that costs $6,075 in Kansas City would be billed at $15,420 in Sacramento.

According to the authors of the study in Health Affairs, the variation birth-related hospital costs suggest there may be opportunities to reduce bills by “increasing the coordination of care, and emphasizing value of care through new payment and delivery systems reforms.”

Some health sector experts agree, changes need to take place to standardize and reduce the cost of giving birth in America.

“The price variances seen in both routine and cesarean deliveries reflect the larger systemic problems in our nation’s healthcare system,” says Kristin Torres Mowat, senior vice president of Plan Development and Data Operations at Castlight Health.

American parents want to know how much a birth will cost them, but, as new father Johnny Harris wrote for Vox, finding out the cost of having a baby before you have one is very challenging. “It's significantly easier to find out how much it costs to park at a hospital than how much it will cost to get treatment,” Harris wrote.

The out-of-pocket costs a family pays after a birth are not only dependent on the location of the hospital, but also on their insurance. Negotiated rates, deductibles and health plan coverage varies, but regardless of your plan and state, if you’re in America you’re paying more than you would anywhere else in the world.

Add to that the struggle for paid parental leave, the high cost for childcare, and lost income for parents who do stay home for a few years and it seems like the price tag on birth in America is just the beginning.

Parenthood may be pricey (we don’t even want to think about how much college is going to cost), but it always feels worth it when we bring home that new baby.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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