Photo courtesy of Megan Whitaker

How Much A Home Birth Actually Cost Me

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Raising a child supposedly costs you a quarter of a million dollars, but it can honestly be more daunting to face the idea of spending $80 on bottle nipples in a single month. Expense Report gives us a look into the spending, scrimping, and wishing that defines parenthood, from what moms spend on birthdays, to childcare, to sleep, to self-care (we wish!), and beyond.

There are a lot of reasons we chose a home birth this time around, not the least of which was my super-rapid labors. This one was a few minutes shy of three hours, so not having to leave my house was a huge plus. We also got amazing one-on-one care and my midwife did all my check-ups in my living room during my toddler’s afternoon nap. My first labor had been at a birth center, so I was already familiar with midwives and with feeling every second of every contraction.

The most pragmatic reason for a home birth was perhaps the cost. An uncomplicated vaginal birth costs in this country can cost tens of thousands of dollars, not counting the doctor’s visits. My insurance would have paid only 50 percent even after my deductible of $4000. Woohoo. My husband is in grad school and we make no money currently. Like below the poverty line. Luckily, my husband and I thought ahead and have an “Emergencies & Babies” savings account that we have literally only used for birthing babies and when our car broke down.

Online Birth Class, $200

Even though I’d have a natural birth before, I decided to do another mini-childbirth class since drug-free birth is no joke. And frankly, the minute that baby is out you forget everything. We picked an online class because we had no desire to juggle a toddler and a weekly class. It was absolutely the way to go for a refresher.

Midwife Services, $4500

With a home birth, everything is included. All the pregnancy check-ups, the labor and delivery, and the postpartum visit are included in one fee. No visit co-pays here. My midwife included all my blood draws and lab fees as well. Each appointment was an hour long directly with my midwife. No random providers or even nurses doing vitals. She was there for everything.

OB Visit & Ultrasound Tech, $716

8-week ultrasound: $168

20-week ultrasound: $230

32-week ultrasound: $140

Backup OB appointment: $178

I did have to see a traditional OB for 1 visit so that he could be my “backup” in case I risked out or just backed out. My midwife came with me and the whole thing took 15 minutes. He looked at my history and said, "I'll probably never see you again. Have a good birth." I did need a third-trimester ultrasound due to a low-lying placenta. If it’s too low at birth you can hemorrhage, so we had to check that it moved enough to be safe.

Photo courtesy of Megan Whitaker

Custom Home Birth Kit, $40, In His Hands

Plastic Curtains, $5 x 2 sets, Amazon

When you give delivery at home you do have to buy some birth stuff. The midwife brings all the medical equipment you could need, but you have to prep your house. And birth can be messy. My midwife gave us a supply list with things we already had like towels, blankets, heating pad and extra sheets. There were a few things I had to get like plastic shower curtains to protect the bed because, you know, possible messes. I also had to buy a home birth kit from on online shop. This was the random by essential items like giant absorbent underpads, mesh underwear, peri-bottles, and emesis bags. Any mom can tell you those mesh panties are necessary.

Electric Candles, $4.99, Amazon (no, I never turned them on)

Because my first labor was less than six hours, I had no delusions that I would have a water birth this time. Those big birthing tubs can take well over an hour to fill up and my midwife warned me second labors can be much faster than first births. Most women don't actually deliver in the tub. They use them to help them get through contractions during very long labors, so I just didn’t see the point of renting one. If I had, it would have cost around $500 all-in.

Total Cost For Pregnancy Care, Birth, & Postpartum: $5,470.99

The nicest thing about a home birth is that it’s your space. I gave birth in my room, in my bed. Knowing that it’s going to be uncomfortable, many women planning a natural birth, in any space, try to get a few things to create a happy and calming atmosphere or to help with the pain. I did that the first time and my labor was so fast I never used any of it.

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.