Midwives are they worth the cost?

Every woman deserves to have a great birthing experience. I believe every woman deserves the birth of her dreams. I also believe midwives are the way to achieve that. Recently I have been hearing a lot of talk about how costly midwives are. I must admit, when I was searching for a midwife I too thought it was costly. In my area, the average cost of a midwife is $5,000. I was unsure if this was a good investment. Obviously, I decided to take the risk and see if a midwife was worth the money.

These are my personal experiences. Everyone’s experience will be different. Every doctor or midwife will be different. I had concurrent care during my pregnancy with Baby Sister. I did this because my insurance covered all my labs if I saw my obgyn and, in case we needed to transfer from home to the hospital, I wanted my doctor/hospital to have all my information. I did see both my obgyn and my midwives for my prenatal care.

My doctors appointments were 15-20 minutes tops. I LOVE my obgyn. She is the best obgyn I have ever seen. She is kind, smart, funny, compassionate and relatable. If I had a guarantee she would deliver me I might’ve tried a hospital birth. My appointments were so long with my obgyn because she was caring. During my pregnancy with Bunny my appointments (with a different obgyn) were 5-10 minutes tops. I must say my current obgyn is wonderful. Around 8-9 weeks pregnant I was having doubts about Baby Sister being a sticky baby, mainly because two of my close friends just went through a miscarriage and another friend was having a hard time getting pregnant. My obgyn saw me even though it wasn’t a routine appointment and did an ultrasound so I could see baby was there and growing. Have I mentioned I love my obgyn? What normally happened at my obgyn appointments were we checked the heartbeat, checked blood pressure and heart rate, check my urine and weight, and she asked how I was doing and if I had any concerns. Around 20 weeks she started measuring my uterus. It was pretty quick, in and out. My Love commented on how all the visits were the same and wondered why we had so many visits.

My midwife appointments were 45-60 minutes long. I think one appointment was 45 minutes and the rest were typically 60 minutes or longer. What typically happened at my midwife appointments were we would check for baby’s heart beat, checked blood pressure and heart rate. We would talk about my diet, how I was feeling. Did I have any concerns. Midwives would feel baby and check on her growth with their hands. We would talk about my c section scar and how to help it become supple and wonderful for my growing belly and impending birth. We would chat about what was going on in my life. In the beginning I wondered why we needed an hour. Amazingly, I almost always took up that hour (sometimes a few minutes more) with thoughts or questions or concerns. I really felt like I knew my midwives and had a relationship with them. I didn’t do a urine test with my midwives because I was doing this at my doctors appointments and everything was great.
I saw my obgyn at 6, 12, 26, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, 37, 38 and 39 weeks. I saw my midwives at an interview appointment, 12, 16, 20, 24, 30, 32, 34, 36, 37, 38 and 39 weeks. My 36 week visit with my midwives was at my home. My midwives were there for me when I gave birth. They came and checked me once during the day, then stayed with me for 8 hours while I gave birth and for a few hours after. They came back the morning after Baby Sister was born. Then again a few days later. I had concerns about Baby Sisters weight gain (not because of baby sister but because bunny had issues when she was born) so my midwives brought me a baby scale to use for a few days and also took a look at Baby Sister (the midwives came to me for these appointments). I saw my midwives again for Baby Sisters 2 week visit (I went to their office for this visit). I saw my midwives for the 6 week post partum visit (I went to their office for this visit). We chatted about how life was going with Baby Sister and how I was doing. We talked about birth control and my postpartum bleeding. The midwife felt my stomach/uterus and offered a couple suggestions that would help me. Neither my OBGYN nor my Midwife did an internal exam at my 6 week postpartum appointment.

It might seem like a midwife costs a lot, but when you look at the time, personal attention, and care they dedicate to you, it is not very much money at all. Not only did I see my midwives more often and for longer periods of time than my obgyn, I also knew my midwives were there for me 24/7 if I had any concerns or questions. I was able to call and/or text any time of day or night if I had any questions or concerns. I did contact them a few times during my pregnancy. I felt like I received more personalized care with my midwives.

What are the costs of a midwife? I asked moms from all over the country what their midwife cost. The cost of a midwife ranges from $1,000 (Michigan) up to $8,000 (New York). The average cost of a midwife is $2,000. What does this include? Twelve to fourteen hours of prenatal visits, six to forty eight hours of one on one attentive care during your labor and birth, three to four hours of one on one attentive care immediately after birth, and four individual postpartum visits typically lasting an hour each. Typically the 36 week visit, the birth and the first 2-3 postpartum visits are at your house. This means your midwives are driving to you. Midwives fee typically does not cover a birthing tub and liner, a birth kit, birthing supplies for you and baby, postpartum supplies, and any labs and ultrasounds. Some midwives do include these in their fee, each midwife is different. I have yet to find a midwife who includes labs or ultrasounds in their fee. This can add an additional cost of up to $1,000 depending on what labs or ultrasounds you choose to do. My labs and ultrasounds were covered under my insurance and my birthing tub rental was included in my midwives fee. What additional costs I did have were a birthing kid ($70 ish), a birthing tub liner ($3), and miscellaneous birth and postpartum items for me and baby ($50 ish). Each midwife has her own list of required items for birth and postpartum as well as a suggested list of items.

If you have insurance, the average cost of a hospital birth ranges from $9,000-17,00 for a vaginal birth and $14,000-25,000 for a c-section or a complicated birth. The average deductible with health insurance is $5,000. This doesn’t include co pays and monthly premiums. The perks of a hospital birth (when I gave birth to Bunny) are free newborn diapers, free nipple shield, free postpartum mesh panties (ooh la la. Did you know those are washable?!), and a free peri bottle. Of course, these items are not really “free,” we end up paying for them with our monthly premiums and co pays. If you have a pregnancy that goes into two calendar years, like both of mine did, you may end up meeting/paying your co pay twice.

The average midwife costs $2,000 while the average insurance deductible for a hospital birth is $5,000. There are many midwives who will trade services with you, or work on payment plans. There are also many midwives who have a sliding scale for those who do not make as much money as others. It is important to interview a few different midwives to make sure you are a good match. Do not be afraid to ask questions or see if they will work with you on costs, like a sliding scale, barter, or a payment plan. The worst they can say is no. Don’t be afraid to talk to a few midwives and ask them questions. If money is an issue, talk to them Midwives want to help! They want to give you the birth of your dreams. All you have to do is ask.

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