It's no secret that giving birth in the United States is an expensive endeavor. Maybe you're pricing out your options. Maybe you're really drawn to the idea of a gentle, watery entry into this human plane of existence for your baby. After all, water birth proponents say that's exactly what you get when you choose a water birth. Since it's probably wise to know your options before you give birth, it's worth asking how much it costs to have a water birth and comparing prices before you ultimately make your decision. Just consider it your first foray into the wonderful world of "parenting on a budget." Yay.
When considering cost, first and foremost, it's important to distinguish between different types of water births. Water births can happen in hospitals, birth centers, or at home. However, Parents explains, saying:
"To be clear, water birthing is different than immersion labor, which involves getting in a tub or shower to ease discomfort during labor but not during delivery. True water births, on the other hand, occur in a warm, water-filled birthing tub, usually at home or in birthing centers, and with the assistance of midwives, rather than hospital-based OBs."
If you choose to try a water birth in a hospital, be aware that the cost will likely be much higher, and vary greatly depending on where in the United States your hospital of choice is located. According to CNBC, in 2016 the average cost of an uncomplicated vaginal hospital delivery was anywhere from $6,000 to $16,000.
What about a stand-alone water birth outside of a hospital at home or in a birthing center? Most importantly, before even considering either of these options, make sure to discuss with your prenatal care provider whether or not it is in your best interest to give birth outside of a hospital. According to BabyCenter, certain risk factors or health conditions may make it impossible to choose a home birth or birth center.
After being medically cleared for a home birth, there are a couple things to consider when discussing cost. First, will you be alone with family or attended by a midwife, doula, or other health care professional? Consider their fees, which vary widely depending again upon location and credentials, when accounting for your total water birth cost.
Waterbirth International recommended Waterbirth Solutions, Inc. for equipment and pool rentals. The cost of renting or buying a water birthing tub, according to Waterbirth Solutions, Inc.'s retail site, is around $300 with pool and liners. Some birthing centers, like Mountain Midwifery, Inc. in Colorado, offer water births at no extra charge to current clients.
Whatever way you ultimately decide to go, be sure to check with your insurance company to see what, if any, parts of the childbirth costs they'll cover.