Just how much does it cost to have a baby? The answer depends on many factors, one of which is geography. Where you live affects your access to healthcare and how much it will cost your family to deliver a child in a hospital.
Take a look at how much it costs, on average, to deliver a baby around the world, continent by continent.
We’re starting with North America, where the cost of having a baby varies wildly depending on where you live, your insurance, and the circumstances of the birth.
Canada is famous for its national healthcare system, and if you have Canadian insurance and deliver your baby in the province where you live, then the cost of delivery may be completely free.
According to Queensway Carleton Hospital in Ottawa, Ontario, “The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care pays for a wide range of services such as the cost of medical necessary visits to the Hospital and standard ward room (four beds to a room) if admitted to Hospital.”
Depending on your insurance, you might not have to pay a dime. But if you don’t have insurance, you’ll need to pay. At Queensway Carleton, the charge for a normal delivery for an uninsured Canadian resident is $2,330. A c-section delivery will cost $3,000. If that’s the cost with no insurance, then you can expect the cost to be significantly less with insurance – which is great news for Canadian parents!
Healthcare costs in the USA are famously high. The total cost of delivering a baby will depend heavily on your insurance. If you have insurance, you can expect to pay around $3,000, according to sources such as MoneyGeek and PBS. However, if there are any complications with the delivery, or if you need to stay in the hospital any extra days, expect that number to go up.
And if you don’t have insurance from your employer or from a state healthcare provider (like Medicare or an ACA healthcare group), that number skyrockets. Those with no insurance will probably spend close to $20,000, depending on where they live and the circumstances of the birth.
The University of Wisconsin reports that “According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the national median charges for childbirth hospital stays in the United States include $13,524 for delivery and care for the mother and $3,660 for newborn care. That adds up to $16,884.”
PBS came to a similar conclusion. “In total, pregnancy and childbirth for someone with private insurance costs about $18,865. Most of that is paid by the insurance plan but can result in higher insurance premiums down the line.”
So, what’s the takeaway? If you don’t have any insurance at all, you’ll probably spend about $20,000. If you do have insurance, your cost will depend on several factors, such as:
- where you give birth (at home, in a hospital, in-network, out-of-network, etc.)
- the type of birth (vaginal or c-section)
- any complications that arose
There’s a lot of data available about the cost of giving birth in the United States. Contact your insurance provider directly to learn what you can expect.
In Mexico, pregnancy care is focused more on the mother than the baby. In the US, it’s the opposite. Some mothers say they definitely prefer this approach. But how much will it cost to deliver in Mexico?
Of course, the cost will ultimately depend on your specific circumstances. But in general, here’s what you can expect.
A Yahoo! Finance reporter found that “According to figures from the Federal Consumer Prosecutor’s Office (Profeco), the cost of natural childbirth in a hospital or clinic can range from 9,660 to 28,999 pesos, while birth by cesarean section ranges from 11,990 to 43,999 pesos. Costs are variable and, depending on the case, may or may not include doctors’ fees.”
So, exactly how much is that in US dollars? As of this writing, 9,660 pesos is $480.98, and at the high end, 43,999 pesos is $2,190.65. That’s significant savings from what many people will pay in the US!
South America – Brazil
We’re going to focus on just Brazil, which is the largest country in South America. In Brazil, the cost of giving birth depends on whether you choose a public hospital or a private hospital. At a public hospital, the cost of childbirth is free; however, the quality of care may be a concern.
At a private hospital, the cost of a c-section delivery can range from 3,500-4,500 Brazilian reals, or roughly $668.22 to $859.15 American dollars. Still, the cost will vary depending on the region.
Brazil is a welcoming country, and any baby who is born in Brazil will automatically have birthright citizenship. Because of this, birth tourism is popular in Brazil; however, the legality of this practice could be in question.
Europe – Finland
In Europe, we’re focusing just on one country where giving birth is a right, not a privilege. In many countries, you will pay doctor’s fees, anesthesiologist fees, and extra fees for having a c-section if you end up needing one. But in Finland, that’s not the case.
Finland prioritizes healthcare, so it is almost free to deliver a baby in this northern European country. In Finland, you pay the price of the hospital stay – and that’s it.
According to a 2020 CNBC article, “Finns are reimbursed almost in full other than the hospital stay (in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, a day fee for a hospital stay costs about $42 and the average stay is two or three days, according to the city’s social services and healthcare division).”
Africa – South Africa
As a massive continent, the cost of giving birth throughout Africa varies widely. We’re going to focus on South Africa, where you have three options for where you can deliver: government (public) hospitals, birthing centers, or private hospitals.
In a government hospital, the cost of delivery is free. However, you’ll have to bring your own supplies, including diapers, bottles, and sometimes even food.
Birthing centers offer more care, and the cost is still affordable. You’ll be charged for admission, for an epidural, and for the various doctors’ fees. The cost for the hospital stay is about $900, but the epidural will set you back only around $100. There are other fees to take into account, too.
At a private hospital, prices are even higher, but care is more comprehensive. For more details about how much it costs to have a baby in South Africa, look here.
Asia – China
Of course, like Africa, Asia is a massive continent with many different countries. And like anywhere else in the world, the cost of giving birth will depend on the birth itself. We’re going to look just at China, which is somewhat similar to South Africa.
In China, state (government) insurance will cover the cost of delivery at a public hospital. However, just like in South Africa, because the quality of care can be less than ideal, many families turn to private clinics instead.
According to Reuters, these private clinics can charge more than $100,000 yuan, or roughly $15,700.
Australia – Victoria
Australia is unique in that it is both a continent and a country, but here we’ll take a look specifically at what it costs to give birth in the state of Victoria.
Australian citizens who have Medicare will be able to utilize the public system, which is both affordable and high-quality, for their birth. Costs are minimal, and there are several different “models of birth.” Families can choose between a midwife clinic, shared care (between the general practitioner and the maternity hospital), a specific birth center, a home birth, or a private hospital.
Choosing a private hospital will allow you to choose your own gynecologist, but the cost is expensive. Like in the United States, your private health insurance will be responsible for some of the costs, and you will be responsible for the rest.
The exact cost depends on what your doctor charges, how much care you need, if you have to have a c-section, the hospital you choose, and your private health insurance policy.
There are only a few places around the world where giving birth in a medical setting is virtually free. And if there are complications during delivery, no matter where you are, you can expect to pay more. Of course, having a child costs a lot more than just the price of labor and delivery – but it’s important to have an idea of how much you’ll be paying. After all, one of the best gifts you can give your child is a financially healthy life.