C-Section and Vaginal Delivery: Preparing for Hospital Births and Related Costs

Before a big event like the birth of a baby, you will likely have a lot of questions. Whether you are expecting to deliver via C-section or vaginal delivery, you will probably wonder about what to expect during the surgery or labor, what the recovery period looks like, or how to care for yourself and an infant at the same time. But, expectant parents don’t always ask about the cost of giving birth ahead of time.

Vaginal deliveries and C-sections are different ways of giving birth. A C-section – also known as a cesarean birth – is a way of delivery a baby through surgery that opens the mother’s abdomen and uterus. There are many reasons why a woman might have a C-section, including prolonged labor, abnormal positioning, and chronic health issues. If you are expecting to have a vaginal delivery or C-section, you’ll want to ask your doctor what to expect during the process as well as after. You’ll also want to know what costs to expect and reduce the chance of a surprise bill.

On the Wear The Cost website, the C-section and vaginal delivery “episodes of care” includes the total cost of all covered services related to the procedure, whether the service takes place in a hospital or in an outpatient facility. This total cost includes delivery by doctor, nursing care during and after delivery, and blood tests. It also includes costs that may occur after being discharged from the hospital, including follow-up doctor appointments.

By including the related services before, during, and after the surgery, Wear The Cost captures the total cost of care of a C-section or vaginal delivery. The costs are based on health insurance claims data, which reflects what health insurers actually paid providers for their services and the patients’ out-of-pocket costs. Wear The Cost then averages the claims data for each of the hospitals listed on the site.

In Maryland, the average cost of a C-section can range from about $12,321 to over $16,800, depending on the hospital where the procedure takes place. The average cost of a vaginal delivery can range from approximately $10,300 to more than $15,018, depending on the hospital. The costs for both procedures include things you expect, like the delivery and nursing care. They also include treatments for complications that you hope not to experience and could potentially be avoided. Common potentially avoidable complications for C-sections or vaginal deliveries include urinary tract infections, post-partum hemorrhage, high blood pressure, and clots in leg veins. Some hospitals have more costs associated with potentially avoidable complications than others.

While costs can still vary from patient to patient, knowing the average costs associated with the procedure and the average rate of potentially avoidable complications can help patients as they consider where to get their surgery – something everyone should think about.

To learn more about what C-sections cost in Maryland and which hospitals may offer a better value, check out https://www.wearthecost.org/c_section.html. To learn about the cost of vaginal deliveries, go to https://www.wearthecost.org/vaginal_delivery.html. Or create your own custom report to compare hospitals: https://www.wearthecost.org/report_step1.html.