Babies are wonderful in almost every way, except for changing diapers and the cost.  Medical bills quickly become overwhelming, and that’s without the stress of other necessities like baby proofing and shopping.  Know what to expect when you’re expecting – the cost of pregnancy.

Costs During the Pregnancy

It’s an incredible experience to see your future child through an ultrasound, however they are expensive.  Typically you will only need one or two over the course of your pregnancy during the first and second trimester.  Insurance companies range on how many they cover, and it will never be as many as you’d like.  Call your insurer to check how many ultrasounds they will cover, and keep an open line of communication on when you plan on getting them.

First Trimester 

Expect monthly doctor visits during the first and second trimester with a relatively cheap copay of $15-$35.  These appointments are basically physicals, where you and the baby will be checked.  Throughout the entire process there will be tests and procedures that may carry extra cost, and they will be necessary.

  • Prenatal vitamins may be prescribed for you, and you can expect a copay around $10 – $20.
  • Lab work will draw your blood to check a number of items that are important to your child. Insurance will cover most of the cost, and the copay will range depending on what is performed.
  • Cell-free fetal DNA sampling is tested for genetic concerns, and is only applicable for at-risk patients. This is an expensive procedure that can cost as much as $2,000.

Second Trimester

  • Glucose screening is a test for gestational diabetes performed through blood work. If this is not covered, expect about a $100 bill.
  • Maternal blood screening detects birth defects. The cost varies by location and your insurance.
  • Amniocentesis is an analysis of the amniotic fluid and detects genetic issues like Down syndrome. This is usually covered, but if not the price is around $200 – $300.

Third Trimester

You will be going to the doctor twice a month once you are at this point in your pregnancy.  Unless your doctor is concerned about the baby, the only medical cost you can expect is birthing classes.  The price ranges by location, and the range is $50 – $200.

The Day Of

This will be one of the most intimidating itemized bills you will likely ever receive.  It is common to be charged for each small (and large) task to be included such as: pills, midwives, snacks and more.  The average cost is typically around $30,000 for vaginal births and $50,000 for cesarean.  Your out-of-pocket cost will likely be over $2,000.

Do not be frightened by this.  Call the hospital to figure out an estimate in advance, and then you can budget for it.


Learn what your insurance will cover, and the costs of the common charges.  A breakdown of the jargon can be found in this past blog post.  Do not be afraid to contact your insurer with direct questions if you are worried.  It is not worth it to be stressed out about something as trivial as medical bills during pregnancy.

Due to the fact that pregnancy is a nine-month process, you may be caught in something called “global billing.”  This is when you begin prenatal care during one calendar year, and give birth during the next year.  This sticks you with two deductibles to pay.  Consult your OB-GYN about whether or not they will do this so you can financially prepare.

No Insurance

In the event you are uninsured and have no plans to receive health coverage, expect tens of thousands of dollars in expenses.  It is highly recommended to enroll in some form of health insurance.  The Affordable Care Act sadly does not recognize pregnancy as a qualifying event for special enrollment, so you will have to wait for open enrollment (November 1st – January 31st).

There are other options!

  • If you are under 26 you can join your parents’ coverage.
  • If you meet the income requirements you can apply for Medicaid.
  • Go off-exchange and find a private insurer.
  • Otherwise you can negotiate prices with your medical practitioners, try to join a charity program through a hospital, or find a maternity package through a hospital.

Bringing life into the world is an incredible process and should be treated so.  The price tag attached is nerve-racking, but it is for the well being of the child.  Take the time to financially plan out your pregnancy.  Open communication with doctors and your insurance agency are the first steps in proper budgeting.

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