How Much Does It Cost to Have a Baby?

It’s expensive to be alive. Though costs of living vary depending on where you live, we all have to pay for basically the same things: food, housing, education, and even making more humans.

Financial considerations are one of many reasons more women in the United States are choosing not to have kids. Others, as you may have guessed, include issues surrounding paid maternity leave and just not wanting to.

From pregnancy to the moment you drop them off at their college dorm, here’s what families can expect to pay for health care, basic necessities, and more.

Newborn baby

Newborn baby | mmpile/iStock/Getty Images

Prenatal care (with and without health insurance)

Pregnancy isn’t free — not completely. If you have health insurance, necessities such as doctor’s visits and ultrasounds are considered “preventative care” and should be covered.

But if you don’t have insurance, you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for all this and more if you want to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Care throughout costs, on average, about $2,000. This includes the cost of doctor’s appointments, blood and ultrasound tests, and prenatal vitamins (whether you have insurance or not).

Shopping while pregnant

You can factor in the cost of indulging in your bizarre pregnancy food cravings if you want to. But the cost of necessities like a car seat, crib, a baby monitor, and more will probably take priority the closer you actually get to your due date.

It’s economical to inherit some hand-me-down or “gently used” items, like newborn clothes or a changing table. But you definitely don’t want to avoid splurging on something like a new car seat to keep your baby safe.

According to WebMD, some expecting parents can get most of these things for a little less than $500 in total. It’s really up to you to decide what you want to buy new and what you can get used without sacrificing quality — and safety.

Parents

Parents | iStock.com/Lacheev

The costs of giving birth

How much it costs to deliver a child depends on where and how you do it. Uncomplicated births (hopefully the only kind you’ll experience) are the least expensive, since they require fewer medical interventions to ensure mom and baby remain healthy.

  • In a hospital, a typical vaginal birth in the U.S. costs anywhere from $9,000 to $17,000.
  • A C-section or complicated vaginal delivery can cost as much as $25,000.
  • An epidural costs an additional $2,000 on average.
  • A home birth can cost anywhere from $3,500 to $6,000.

Exact costs really depend on your location. There’s no guarantee health insurance will cover a significant percentage of these expenses.

Raising a child in the U.S.

Having a baby is expensive. So is raising one. Many families make use of child care when their kids are young, which can add up over time depending on the type. There’s also the cost of basic necessities, education, and all those extracurricular activities that will increase their chances of getting into a good college (which you may or may not end up helping them pay for).

According to TIME, middle-income families can expect to spend over $200,000 in the first 17 years of a child’s life. Actual costs obviously vary depending on where you live, as well as other factors. This is why many families plan ahead as best they can — especially financially — before even trying to get pregnant.

Kids may be expensive, but you still have some control over exact costs. Here’s how to save money on child care, necessities, and more.

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