US is most expensive place to give birth, study shows

Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 10:29pm

According to a 2012 study by the International Federation of Health Plans, the United States is the most expensive place to give birth. 

The study shows a normal delivery cost American women a little more than $16,000 in hospital and doctors costs, whereas women in France paid under $4,000.

Amanda Akers and her husband are expecting their second child in October.

"We're having a boy and I'm seven months pregnant."

She says she's not surprised by the results of the study because her and her husband have felt the pinch.

And while Amanda says pregnancy has been a blessing for the family, it carries a hefty price tag.

She visits the doctor at least once a month for a variety of procedures, from blood work to ultrasounds, and the bills start piling up.

"Not just that you have to pay the hospital and the doctor, you also have to get everything ready for the baby that's coming," she said.

Dr. Jorge Villarreal, OB-GYN, says the medical legal system in the United States may be to blame for the high costs here.

"We do a lot of testing here that is probably not done in other countries," said Dr. Villarreal.

"Time in the hospital, you're having to pay $2,100 and that's if it's natural birth. And if you decide to stay one more extra day, then that's another thousand," said Akers.

Women who deliver by cesarean section normally do stay an extra day. Having a C-section cost about $26,000 for women in the US, whereas women in the UK paid a little more than $4,000.

"It's hard, it's stressful not just on myself but also on my husband, but you know what? I have to remain calm, go with the flow because if not, it's going to affect my baby," said Akers.

So are all those tests and hospital visits really necessary?

That depends on who you ask. If there are problems with a pregnancy, doctors can detect issues much earlier and prevent complications in some cases. But if it's a healthy pregnancy, many argue all those tests are a waste of money.

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