Giving birth can be one of the most unpredictable things on the planet. While most women decide on a birth plan before they welcome their little one into the world, a lot of the time it never goes according to that plan. There are superfast deliveries, emergency C-sections, scheduled C-sections, it's-too-late-for-an-epidural deliveries, and so on. Even long after the birth, when mom and baby are recuperating at home and desperately trying to get some sleep, that delivery process can still surprise you.
Even if you have insurance, some things might pop up on your hospital bill that you might not expect. Since not every hospital has the same rules, different policies mean that women might be charged for things they thought were all part of the deal ("deal" meaning "I'm pushing a baby out of my body so all this stuff you use should be included"). Of course, if you're getting ready to deliver, double-check with your hospital ahead of time so you won't get a shock in the mail weeks later.
- Those soothing witch-hazel pads might not be free. While it's fairly common that those oh-so-necessary pads given to women after vaginal birth are free, sometimes they aren't, even if they continue to hand them out like candy.
- That wonderful skin-to-skin contact could cost you. People across the country were shocked a few years ago when a woman was charged $40 to hold her baby after delivery. While one doula explained that this was likely because an extra nurse was needed for the safety of the baby, no new parent wants to be charged to hold their child.
- Motrin and ibuprofen are often charged by the pill. Hospitals love to charge a premium for things. Motrin, Tylenol, and ibuprofen can cost a staggering $15 per pill, so you might want to pack your own.
- Lactation consultations should be covered, but that's not always the case. Despite the fact that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) covers a visit with a lactation consultant in the hospital without a copay, some hospitals are getting away with charging patients. At costs around $150 per visit, that can quickly add up as a new mom tries to learn to nurse her baby.
- Your doula or midwife isn't always covered by insurance. If you want to have a home birth or have your midwife take control of the delivery, this might be a more costly experience. While the cost of using a midwife varies by state and policy, it's not unheard of to be charged $3,000 to $5,000 for the service. Since many insurance policies don't list midwives in their directory or don't cover them at all, patients may have to foot this bill themselves.
- Anything extra during delivery. Yes, it's likely that your insurance will cover the cost of an epidural, getting induced, or anything else out of the ordinary from a natural delivery. Still, you'll be shocked when these things wind up on the bill.
- Using the hospital nursery. Even if you don't use the nursery during your stay in the hospital, the fact that it's even an option to you means you could be charged.