Childbirth makes up one fifth of all health care expenditures1 and is the most frequent cause for hospital admission2.The cesarean section rate in the home birth study was 3%, whereas the national average was 22.6% in 1991 and 20.6% in 19963. The cost doubles with the following: having a baby in the hospital, formula-feeding, using disposable diapers, hiring a nanny or babysitter, use of crib and other brand names baby foods and baby products. Anderson and Greener4 found unusually high rates of breastfeeding among homebirthed babies. As formula-fed babies are known to have higher morbidity rates5,6, the cost of future medications, doctor visits, and hospitalizations could be lower for home-birthed children.
The actual cost of having a new baby is minimal when the following is chosen: homebirth, midwifery care, breastfeeding for at least a year or more, cloth diapers, stay-at-home mom, infant massage, sleeping with the baby in the family bed, and less use of any accessory or gadgets.
When I have my first baby and second baby, all born at home I was able to save on a lot of things. Friends gave used infant clothes and accessories. I bought baby clothes and accessories from garage sales and discounted places and made some of them too. I saved the biggest chunk of my money by delivering my babies at home with midwives. My health insurance company was glad that it only cost them $2,300 for my homebirth. There are a lot of intangible benefits from my choices of getting care, use of nutritious food combinations and herbs, massage, childbirth classes and many more relaxing walks and exercises. I don’t have to have an episiotomy – a cut, a big tear on my perineum, too much bleeding, anesthesia, Caesarian operation, and other unnecessary medical procedures.
My baby doesn’t have to have Vitamin K injection, male circumcision, not traumatized during birth, not forceped or forced by other means during birth (such as induction) or c-sectioned, brought to me and stayed on my side from birth onwards, massaged by my hands, fed on my breasts, no water or sugar during the first weeks of life, no bottle and pacifier to confuse my breasts, easy to soothe, a calm and healthy full term baby allowed to stay inside my womb for the full term of about 38 weeks. I am glad to share all these things with other moms for only in sharing do we pass on the sacred birth experience to loving generations to come.
1 Mushinski M. Average charges for uncomplicated vaginal, cesarean and VBAC deliveries; regional variations, United States, 1996. Stat Bull Metro Insur Co 1998; July-Sept:17-28.
2 Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Trends in lengths of stay for nonhospital deliveries – United States, 1970-1992. MMWR 1995; 44:335-7.
3 Mushinski M. Average charges for uncomplicated vaginal, cesarean and VBAC deliveries; regional variations, United States, 1993. Stat Bull Metro Insur Co 1994; Oct-Dec:27-36.
4 Anderson RE, Greener DA. A descriptive analysis of home births attended by CNMs in two nurse-midwifery services. J Nurse Midwifery 1991;36:95-8.
5 Riordan J. The cost of not breastfeeding: a commentary. J Hum Lactation 1997;13:93-7.
6 Walker M. A first look at the risk of artificial infant feeding. J Hum Lactation 1993;9:97.