Cost is one of the most important things to consider when deciding whether to take this natural journey of home birth. It is important to know the price, what you are paying for, and whether your insurance pays for home birth so you know what you are in for and just how much you can benefit from it. So how much does a home birth cost?

A home birth cost is significantly lower than a hospital birth. The cost is anywhere between $2,000-$4,000 depending on your location, extent of your home birth plans, and the availability and price of a midwife, which we will be discussing in this article.

Home birth cost vs. hospital birth cost

One of the many benefits of having a home birth is that it cost exceptionally less to have your baby at home than in a hospital.

Some things to consider for either method when estimating the price:

  • Location– Birth costs differ widely from state to state, for instance, if you live in Arkansas, the average birth cost alone in 2010 for a normal, vaginal delivery was $9,000 (Source) compared to $16,000 in California. (Source). If the hospital births are more expensive in one state, on average, the midwives are going to cost more, resulting in a more expensive home birth.
  • Availability of a midwife– In places where midwives may be scarce, they may be more inclined to charge more for their services.
  • The extent of plans- If you plan an upscale homebirth with all the monitoring equipment imaginable and a whole neonatal set up in the bedroom, it’s going to be more expensive than a traditional home birth where you only have the necessary things.
  • C-sections cost more. They cost both Medicaid and commercial insurance companies double what a vaginal delivery does.

Home births:

A home birth usually costs anywhere between $2,000 and $4,000. This price will differ widely depending on which state you live in but should fall within the price range indicated.

What’s included in a home birth cost?

With a home birth, you are essentially paying a midwife fee. She will handle the entire pregnancy, birth, and probably a follow-up appointment after you have the baby.

Mostly everything is included in the cost including,

  • The basic medical equipment needed which consists of a stethoscope, thermometer, blood pressure cuff, and also something that allows them to monitor the baby.
  • The full 9 months of monitoring.
  • Delivery and nursery care.
  • A follow up appointment.

Things that may not be included in Midwife fee:

You should also try to figure in any costs not included with this estimate such as; possible emergency interventions, birthing supplies, blood testing, and ultrasounds; just to be on the safe side.

  • Gestational diabetes screening- This is a test done between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy to measure your blood sugar. This test typically cost anywhere between $75 and $100.
  • Ultrasounds- You could have to pay out of pocket up to $200 for each ultrasound, however, unless a problem arises, you should only need a few throughout your pregnancy.
  • STD testing- This could cost you anywhere between $50 and $200 but this will vary depending on your location.
  • Genetic testing- determines the chance that your baby will be born with down syndrome, trisomy 18, and trisomy 13 and is done between the 10th and 22nd week of pregnancy. This test is optional. If you choose to get genetic testing, it could cost you anywhere between $800 and $2,000.
  • Home birth supplies- This can include, a waterproof liner for your birthing bed, extra sheets, sanitary pads, receiving blankets, a few bottles of hydrogen peroxide (for cleaning up any blood stains later), plenty of towels and washrags, lead-free water hose (for water birth), and whatever else you feel is necessary. Some of these things you may already have.
  • Birthing Tubs (if you choose to have a water birth) can range anywhere from $70 to $500 depending on your preferences.
  • An ambulance ride- In the case you need emergency attention, an ambulance ride can cost anywhere from $500-$2,000.
  • Postpartum supplies which include Maxi pads, witch hazel pads, squirt bottle, nursing bra and nursing pads (if applicable), and a sitz bath. All of these necessary things are cheap but can add up quickly.

Depending on your insurance, you may even be covered for some of those things.

Hospital birth costs:

Hospital births, on the other hand, are much more expensive. If it weren’t for insurance companies, a LOT of births would take place at home because people simply wouldn’t be able to afford a hospital birth.

Hospital birth in the United States is the most expensive in the world.

  • Commercial health insurance: On average, for the care and delivery, commercial health insurance companies are billed $32,000 for uncomplicated vaginal deliveries and $51,000 for C-sections. The companies end up paying about $18,000 (vaginal) and $28,000 (c-section).
  • Medicaid: Medicaid is billed about the same as commercial health insurance after complete care and delivery. $30,000 for a vaginal delivery and $50,000 for c-section, but they only paid on average, $9,000 (vaginal) and $14,000 (c-section).
  • The average out-of-pocket amount for people with commercial insurance that had a vaginal delivery was $2,000 and for c-section, $3,000. People covered by Medicaid didn’t have any out of pocket costs. In the new world of high deductible health plans hospital births are MUCH more expensive ranging between $3000 to $5000.

What’s included in Hospital Birth costs?

You (or your insurance company) are paying for a lot of unnecessary things that you may not even receive or just outright don’t need. It would be OK if you could only pay for the things you used but that isn’t an option.

Let’s look at some of the things you pay for when you deliver at a hospital.

  • Formula– A lot of women giving birth in the hospital breastfeed their baby. This formula that is automatically included in the bill, goes unused by you even though you have already paid for it.
  • Diapers– This is a convenience. Most people already have a stash of diapers built up by the time they give birth. This is an included expense so be sure to take all of your diapers with you when you leave because THEY ARE YOURS.
  • Hospitals sometimes charge you for doctor consults that last all of 1 minute and consist of 1 to 2 questions. These charges can be upwards of $500.
  • Nursery care– Yes in most cases this is necessary. It is another thing you pay for with hospital birth. Some mothers only let their babies go to the nursery when it is mandatory but are still charged outrageous fees for nursery care. Anywhere between 300 and 600 dollars per night.
  • You are charged for the medications given to you during your stay which is understandable. The amount they charge you is the surprising thing. One woman claimed to have been billed $400 for some Motrin and a stool softener. (source)
  • Induction of labor costs extra and is often an unecessary intervention.
  • Personal care products- In a lot of cases, this is a necessary fee, however, this is not always the case. Yet another reason each delivery should be personalized to the patients needs.

Are home births covered by insurance?

The great news is, many health insurance companies do cover a home birth. As a matter of a fact, your current health insurance plan may have home birth coverage so make sure to call and discuss this with your carrier.

According to, some states including; New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, and Vermont; require insurance companies to cover home births, so if you live in one of these states, consider yourself lucky.

One major insurance company that DOES cover planned home births is United Health Care, provided that it follows the requirement set forth here.

Well-point covers most home births with certified midwives as out-of-network providers.

Some midwives also accept medicaid depending on which billing company they use and what type of medicaid you have.

Sadly, at the same time, some insurance companies do not pay for a home birth. Aetna, for instance, deems planned home birth medically unnecessary and does not cover it.

Out of pocket costs:

The out of pocket cost of having a home birth is completely dependent upon your insurance company. Most insurance companies that cover midwives for home births cover them as out-of-network providers.

You will need to check your out-of-network coverage, as some insurance companies don’t cover it or only partially cover it which would leave you paying all or most of the cost. For instance, if you have a $5,000 deductible for out-of-network providers, you will have to pay the entire cost of your home birth as it shouldn’t exceed $5,000.

How do you know for sure if you’re covered for a home birth?

  • First, talk to your midwife. She could know more about the billing and insurance process than you may think.
  • Call your insurance company and ask them if your current plan covers midwife services.
  • Before you call, have all your policy information in front of you and write down specific questions you need to ask your insurance provider so you don’t have to call back.

How does it work?

If your insurance company covers midwives performing home births, they’re most likely going to be classified as out-of-network providers.

This works differently than hospital birth because instead of the hospital or doctor billing your insurance and you only having to pay a co-pay, you often have to pay your midwife up front and be reimbursed in the end.

Ask about a payment plan. Your midwife could have payment options that you won’t know about unless you ask.

Where to find midwives in your area:

One may think it would be impossible to find a qualified midwife in their area. They may be very few and far between, but they are out there. If not in your city, then you may find luck in neighboring cities.

There are resources for finding qualified midwives:

  • The American College of Nurse-Midwives makes the process so simple. Find a midwife in your area by going to It will ask your location, where you plan to give birth (home, hospital, birthing center) and how far away from home you are looking. When you input this information, they will give you the closest options to you.
  • Another greatly helpful resource is the Midwives Alliance of North America also know as MANA. At, you can search state by state for midwives using this resource.
  • If the resources provided do not shed any light to your situation, that does not necessarily mean there are none around you. This just indicates that you need to do a little more research locally, including asking around, searching yellow pages, and calling leads. Facebook can be a great resource as well for tracking down a midwife in your surrounding area.

Make sure to check out “How to Choose a Great Midwife for Your Home Birth” and “102 Must Ask Questions for Your Midwife“.

The light at the end of the tunnel

It’s a daunting but rewarding process deciding to have a home birth, figuring out insurance in’s and out’s and finding the perfect midwife for you but it is very much worth it. It costs significantly less money, has so many benefits, plus it’s natural; the way mother nature intended.

I wish you the best on your natural motherhood journey and hope I could take some of the overwhelm and worry off your plate. Make sure to pin this article to help other mommas get the info they need to make an informed decision about their birth plans.

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