Monday, July 1st, 2013
When you find out you’re pregnant, you can’t help yourself—you start to worry about lots of things…morning sickness, how to tell your boss you’ll need maternity leave, whether your ass will triple in size! Then the big question dons on you (or in my case, my husband, the family numbers’ cruncher): “How much is being pregnant going to cost?!”
There are check-ups, ultrasounds (that lead to weekly visits in the final month before delivery), tests for things like gestational diabetes and genetic disorders (especially important if you’re over 35). All of these things add up, and you haven’t even gotten to the actual delivery yet, where every little thing given to you at the hospital is an additional charge. Epidurals aren’t included. Need to be induced? That’s extra. Emergency Cesarean? Wow, that’s really going to cost you!
In the United States the price of delivery has almost tripled since 1996, according to an analysis done for The New York Times by Truven Health Analytics. From 2004 to 2010, the prices that insurers paid for childbirth rose 49 percent for vaginal births and 41 percent for Caesarean sections in the United States, while average out-of-pocket costs rose a whopping four times the previous price. (Meanwhile, in many other countries maternity care is completely free.)
So how much will you be forking over? The average total price charged for pregnancy and newborn care is about $30,000 for a vaginal delivery and $50,000 for a C-section, with insurers paying out an average of $18,329 and $27,866, according to a recent report by Truven Health Analytics. That’s a range of anywhere from a little over $2,000 out of pocket to more than $31,000! In 2012, the average cost in the US was $9,775 for a delivery, with the average Cesarean costing $15, 041.
The really scary part is that not all insurance plans even cover prenatal care. So stop whatever you’re doing right now and call your insurance company to see if you’re covered. In 2011, 62 percent of women in the US covered by private plans that were not obtained through an employer did not have coverage for prenatal costs. And those whose insurance companies do offer coverage, still have to deal with higher co-payments and deductibles—and not all baby-related medical expenses are covered.
There is a silver lining to all of this—sort of. Starting next year insurance policies will be required under the Affordable Care Act to include maternity coverage. The bad news is the law is not specific about what services must be included, so there will likely be loopholes for hospitals and insurance companies to still gouge prices.
Don’t freak out, but the take-home here is clear: having a baby is not cheap, the system is pretty messed up, and you need to start saving now!
TELL US: Have you been saving for prenatal visits and delivery costs? Are you shocked at how much having a baby costs?
Image of hospital bed courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Healthy Pregnancy, Must Read
Tuesday, June 4th, 2013
Could your pregnancy be haunted? Well, maybe, according to a new book called The Ancestral Continuum, co-written by Nicola Graydon and holistic therapist Natalia O’Sullivan. It says that traumatic birthing experiences from your ancestors’ pasts can come back to haunt you in the delivery room hundreds of years later. Say what? Rewind. That’s right, the book says if you’re having horrible labor pains, you can blame them on the women in your family who gave birth before you!
One of the book’s subjects, Sara Bran, claims that while giving birth to both of her daughters, Lily, now 16, and Mia, now 7, that she had an innate feeling that something terrible was about to happen. “On both occasions labor stopped when I was exactly 4 cm dilated,” Sara told the Daily Mail. “Quite simply, I froze with fear and my whole body seemed to go into lockdown. I had to have a traumatic emergency Caesarean section.”
Sara had no idea what happened, but those freaked-out feelings continued to haunt her, and after having the same “paralyzing panic” in the delivery room two times in a row, Sara decided to do some research into the labor experiences of the women in her family. What she found was surprising. More than 100 years ago, Sara’s own great-grandmother was in the middle of giving birth when her toddler son ran into the room—his clothes completely on fire.
Sara was instantly convinced that the “overwhelming panic” she had felt during both of her daughters’ births was the exact feeling her great-grandmother had felt so many years ago, seeing her son ablaze. Sara believes she inherited her great-grandmother’s fear and feelings of trauma, and that those emotional scars are just as easily passed down as other genetic makeup, like hair, eye or skin color.
In researching their book, Nicola and Natalia found plenty of other women who believed as Sara did. For one, Roma Norris says she hemorrhaged while giving birth and drifted in and out of a coma for five weeks due to an infection. She is convinced that is because she was born eight weeks premature and was placed in an incubator. “I believe it was my own birth playing out again,” she explains. Sounds a bit far-fetched to me!
I whole-heartedly believe certain parts of pregnancies can be genetic. For example, my mom had horrible morning sickness while pregnant with each of her three kids, so she warned me when I was expecting that the “around-the-clock sickness,” as we call it, could be hereditary. And oh-so lucky for me, it was! I was sick every day, multiple times a day, for nearly six months of my pregnancy. That I buy can be passed down from generation to generation. So if I ever have a daughter, when she gets pregnant I will tell her the same thing that my mom told me.
But the idea that my dead great-grandmother’s horrible birthing experience can come back to haunt me while I’m mid-push? That’s coo-coo if you ask me! How can a feeling be passed down in your DNA?
I’m all for exploring your emotions and believing in a sixth sense (I’m a Pisces after all—we’re supposed to be super-emotional, empathetic, and even a bit psychic), but the realist in me finds it very hard to believe that one feeling during an exact moment could travel from body to body over generations. It’s basically saying that from the moment you are inseminated, your labor is pre-destined to follow a certain path. That seems more like science-fiction than fact to me. That said, the book sounds just crazy enough to make me want to read it cover to cover!
TELL US: What do you think, will your birth be a carbon copy of your family’s births before you? Or is this all just BS? Will you buy the book?
Image of a ghost courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Must Read, Pregnancy News