How Using a Midwife Can Help Save on Pregnancy Costs
by Christy Bieber | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on Aug. 26, 2019
Are you having a baby and worried about paying the bills? Using a midwife can help you keep your pregnancy costs down.
Pregnancy can be an expensive time, what with the grocery bills that come with eating for two, as well as maternity clothing that needs to be purchased. For most people, however, the biggest expenses associated with pregnancy will come from healthcare costs.
Even if you have good insurance, chances are good that you're going to have to deal with copays and coinsurance costs. And although you can't avoid expenses associated with prenatal care, there are some options for cutting costs so you don't end up having to go into credit card or personal loan debt. One of those options may be to use a midwife.
If you decide to use a midwife, there are a few different ways that your choice of care provider could potentially help you to reduce the expenses of medical care during pregnancy.
1. Prenatal care is often more in your control -- and more low-tech
Midwives tend to focus more on giving the patient control over the pregnancy experience, and don't assume that you'll necessarily want all of the prenatal testing and interventions that ob-gyns tend to provide as a matter of course.
When I started my prenatal care with an obstetrician, my doctor was eager and ready to schedule multiple ultrasounds, Strep B tests, and a whole host of other prenatal tests that are a standard part of care. But, when I switched to a midwife at 12 weeks, my midwife didn't just assume I'd be undergoing all these procedures. Instead, the pros and cons of each were explained and the choice was left up to me.
This patient-centered method of care, which gives you more of a chance to consider what interventions and tests are appropriate, tends to be a hallmark of midwifery -- but isn't quite so common among ob-gyns. Opting for more low-tech testing, or opting out of testing altogether, isn't for everyone -- those with high-risk pregnancies will be better off with ob-gyns. But, if you're having a normal, low-risk pregnancy, you may be able to spend less on prenatal testing, and have more choice when it comes to the monitoring you do receive.
2. There's a reduced chance of interventions during birth
The more medical interventions you have during birth, the costlier your birth experience tends to be. After all, a cesarean section is going to require a lot more medical care, so in that case the costs are inherently going to be higher.
Statistics have shown that births attended by midwives tend to lead to fewer cesareans and fewer interventions in general. If you're able to avoid costly medical procedures, your birth should be cheaper, and your recovery process should also be easier.
3. You can opt for an out-of-hospital birth
Care in hospitals is inherently very expensive. You have many medical professionals attending to you -- some of whom, you may later find out, are not in your insurance network. Many hospital services can also be extremely costly due to the types of reimbursement structures used by hospital facilities.
When you have your baby with the help of an ob-gyn, you're likely going to have to shoulder some of these burdensome hospital expenses -- especially because many insurance policies have higher coinsurance costs or copays for hospital care.
When your birth is attended by a midwife, on the other hand, you may be able to choose to have your baby in a birthing center, or even at home. This could save you considerably, as opposed to paying the kinds of expenses associated with a traditional hospital birth.
Is a midwife right for you?
For many moms-to-be, midwifery care offers the chance for more control over prenatal care and birth, a reduced chance of intervention, and increased savings on cost.
For other mothers, though, more testing or a hospital birth is necessary due to concerns about the health of the mother or baby. You never want to compromise your health or safety just to save a few pennies, but if you have a low-risk pregnancy and want a more natural and cheaper approach to giving birth, a midwife may be just the right choice for you.
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