News flash: Having a baby is expensive. It's the most costly health event families are likely to experience during their childbearing years. On average, U.S. hospital deliveries cost $3,500 per stay, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. Add in prenatal, delivery-related and post-partum healthcare, and you're looking at an $8,802 tab, according to a Thomson Healthcare study for March of Dimes.
But a lot of factors can move your bottom line, says Aleksandr M. Fuks, M.D., Director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Queens Hospital Center. Here, we break down what to expect from hospital bills -- and how to safely lower them -- when you're expecting.