Money To Live

January 11, 2012

How much does a home birth cost?

Filed under: babies,family finances,insurance — by moneytolive @ 8:24 pm

Apparently blogging will make me happier. Blogging about parenthood will help me stay connected and feel less lonely. I hope that applies for blogging about finances and family and baby!

My little guy is 11 weeks old, and I’m emerging from the newborn fog (sleep deprivation makes it hard to remember just how hard it is). Eleven short weeks ago, L was born at home, as planned.

So, how much does a home birth cost?

Our insurance covered all of the medical expenses, as they would have with a hospital birth, as well. I’m still getting insurance statements, and I’ll write about the total costs when I get all the statements. So far, the costs of a home birth look much lower than a hospital delivery.

We paid for several things out of pocket, totaling $1495.

  • At-home lactation consultation at 10 hours after birth: $150 (treated as out-of-network by our insurance company)
  • Tub rental $300 (includes set-up and clean-up, which is priceless)
  • Doula $800
  • Postpartum doula $245  (7 hours at $35/hour)

Each woman needs to decide for herself and her family where she will feel safest and most comfortable when having a baby.  For our family, a home birth worked. I felt comfortable in my own home, where I could move around and eat as I pleased (turns out I wasn’t too hungry during labor, though I sent my vegan husband to the store for a rotisserie chicken, which I did not eat a single bite of). After the birth, it was lovely to sleep in our own bed and not have to go anywhere for over a week.

The downside to a home birth, though, is that there was not a steady stream of nurses ready to help us with out new little baby. Instead, I had to call lactation consultants eight hours after L’s birth, and fortunately the second person I called was able to come right over. We had already lined up a postpartum doula who helped us with babywearing, soothing, and bathing.

Part of my comfort with a home birth was knowing that we are one mile away from a hospital. Under most circumstances, it would take 5-10 minutes for an ambulance to get to our house and take me/baby to the hospital. Fortunately that wasn’t needed, but the little baby did need resuscitation, and our midwife was within 30 seconds of calling 911 at one point.

Had we gone with a hospital delivery, our out-of-pocket expenses would have been lower – no tub rental, no out-of-network lactation consultant, and probably fewer hours of a postpartum doula. For me and my family, the expense was totally worth it.

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