If you're pregnant or wanting to become pregnant you may have already envisioned your child's birth. For some it may be a medicated birth at a hospital, or a drug-free water birth. For others a C-section, either planned or unplanned, may be medically necessary. My first C-section was not planned and there were two things I was shocked about: the recovery time and the cost. No one told me how much more expensive it was. It's important to know all of the additional costs C-section patients have to deal with so you don't have to be surprised like I was.
Generally speaking, C-sections are only performed for health reasons related to the mother or the baby like breech position, multiples, or past abdominal surgeries. But it's hard not to notice the obvious increase in C-sections this country has seen recently. According to the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG), C-section rates in the United States were at the highest levels ever in 2009, with more than 1.3 million C-section deliveries (32.9 percent of all births) performed. With C-section rates on the rise many are questioning if they've all been medically necessary, especially considering the risks and costs to pregnant women.
I had my C-section in January 2010 in a hospital that had an 82 percent Cesarean rate. I still question whether my induction was medically necessary or not. To be honest, out of the whole birthing ordeal the thing I question the most is, how could my C-section cost as much as a house down payment? It's baffling. I knew that birthing a baby wouldn't be as cheap as going to the dollar store, I was ready for that. But I was thrown when the bill arrived for my C-section. If I didn't have health insurance I'd probably still be paying it off.
To help you prepare for the birth of your baby, it's important that you are privy to the costs you could incur should a C-section become necessary. Here are seven costs to consider.
1. The Actual Surgery
The Cesarean surgery can cost anywhere from $14,000 to $25,0000, according to Bundoo.com. Things like complications, extra time in the operating room, and additional medications that may be used during surgery will drive up this cost even higher.
2. The Anesthesia
C-sections can be done using using a few different regional anesthetic methods. According to Drugs.com, doctors can use spinal anesthesia, epidural anesthesia, or a combination of both. Regardless, you should be numb from the waist down for the procedure. In an emergency, general anesthesia will be used which will inhibit a person's ability to see, feel, or hear anything during the birth. All of these different methods rack up different costs for the mother.
3. The Urinary Catheter
According to the Mayo Clinic, a urinary catheter will be inserted if you have a C-section to collect urine. This is done because the C-section makes you unable to feel your bladder filling up once you have your anesthesia.
4. The Medicines
To reduce the risk of infection during and after the surgery, you will be given a dose of antibiotics intravenously through an IV, according to the aforementioned Drugs.com post. The type of antibiotic you receive depends on any possible allergies or drug interactions. The cost of these medicines can vary.
5. The Post Surgery Pain Medications
You will be given pain management medication of the doctor's choosing taking into account any possible allergies or drug interactions. I was prescribed three different pain medications while in the hospital and a sleeping pill. Each time I received a pill I was billed for it.
6. The Hospital Stay
Women who deliver vaginally typically stay at the hospital 24 to 48 hours. Women who have C-sections stay at least 72 hours after their procedure, according to the aforementioned Bundoo.com post. Additionally, a longer labor or induced labor can increase the amount of time a woman is in the hospital and can drive up the overall cost. On average, a child birth related hospital stay can cost $3,500 which doesn't include prenatal case, delivery, or postpartum care.
7. The Supplemental Help At Home
"One of the main additional costs my cesarean birth clients face (beyond the medical costs ) is a need to hire supplemental support, often in the form of a postpartum doula or housekeeper for the first month postpartum," Bailey Gaddis, author of the new book Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth and Motherhood, tells Romper. "While these are nice services to have for any mother, C-section mamas are often on bed rest and pain meds and really can't do much more than rest and be with their baby."
I was in this position in a pretty bad way. I lived far away from family and was caring for my 16-month-old daughter who wasn't walking yet (she was a delayed walker) while recovering from a C-section. Doctors told me I was not allowed to pick her up for at least six weeks. My husband couldn't help because he had to go back to work after one week. Ultimately, I had to pay for help. I hired a part-time nanny to help me until I was mostly recovered.
Having a C-section is not only hard on your body, but it can be hard on your finances too, even if you have health insurance. It's important to remember that every additional service you receive as a C-section patient, you will be billed for. There might be unforeseen costs once you get home as well. If you think this is a surgery you might have to have, it may be a good idea to start stashing some pennies just in case.