Costs (real money) of a home birth

As I have mentioned, Mr W and I are planning a home birth. This is one of the wonderful and safe (in my opinion, I know there are skeptics out there) options available to us since we are under the care of a midwife. In BC, midwife care is free, and is an alternative to have an obstetrician and hospital birth. Although, I should stress that I also have the option of a hospital birth with my midwife (but not vice versa with an OB). My pregnancy so far has been completely normal with no complications, and we live 5 minutes from the hospital, making home birth a relatively risk free undertaking.

As part of the home birth, my midwife does a home visit around 36 weeks. She will come this morning for about an hour to check on our home, get to know us, our surroundings, our pets in this case, and to check we have compiled our home birth supplies. This list of supplies is quite lengthy, containing some common and some not so common items. Ironically, it contains the two items which I think stereotype the home birth - a pot for boiling water, and lots of extra towels and sheets :) Other items include gauze pads, epsom salts, digital thermometer, antibacterial soap, flashlight, extension cord, and "labour aide" a sugary lemon drink I will prepare ahead of time and freeze to keep my energy and hydration up - basically it is like gatorade.

Mr W and I went to the new Walmart Superstore in town yesterday to get most of the supplies, and walked out $120 poorer. And we have been fortunate to have been given some supplies already by friends who didn't use everything in their home birth! The most expensive item we bought was a digital thermometer for $60, because we rationalized that we should have one appropriate for infants that goes in the ear. However, I am still shocked at the price so it will remain in the box until I can check at Costco to see if I can get it any cheaper. Or I give birth, whichever comes first. Hahahaha.

When I got home though I did realize that had I chosen to have a hospital birth I could have saved this money. It is just one of those hidden costs you don't anticipate when making such a decision, partly because making a decision on where to birth your child never seems like a decision to be made based on finances. And our decision wasn't, it was based on our wish to have a calm, comfortable birth in our own home where we can welcome our child into his new surroundings, provided that our caregivers believe that the baby and I are safe and healthy at all times.


  1. Mrs. Micah said...
    I think that if it goes smoothly you're probably much much better off having a home birth, despite the cost. The moms I see in the hospital who've had natural births always seem the most alert and bonded with their babies.

    But it's good to get an idea of the costs. I'll probably try a home birth if I ever have a kid and it's important to know what else one has to pay for on top of midwife fees.
    Kelly said...
    I had home births with my fist two children and a hospital birth with the third. Obviously I'm very pro home birth! I don't know if you've heard this tip before or not, but you can use an old or cheap shower curtain to give birth on. It protects your floors, or you can put it on top of the bed. I bought one from the dollar store and it was great at protecting the carpet.
    L@SpillingBuckets said...
    I don't know much about giving birth, but do you know how much it would cost to go to the hospital?

    They charge you for the room and every thing right? I know most people have insurance that cover most of the cost, but I was curious if you knew what the comparison would be?

    Congrats on having a baby, that's so exciting. :)
    Anonymous said...
    If we're looking at details, don't forget hospital parking: $13 / day in Burnaby, pay it twice a day if you have to go get something.

    On the flip side, the hospital provides you with free diapers while you're there. Estimated cost for 20 Pampers Newborn, let's say $8.

    Intagible benefits at the hospital: they provided an endless supply of what my wife and I call "popsicle pads" -- pads soaked with water then frozen in a curved shape :)
    Wooly Woman said...
    Thanks Mrs Micah, I have seen an amazing video on babies birthed naturally crawling up the mom's stomach to breastfeed with no help. Amazing.

    Great idea about the shower curtain Kelly, I should get one.

    l - hospital is free, except, as anon. points out, for things such as parking. And I have to prepare the handy popsicles myself :) Other than parking, and benefits of free diapers, I think that hospital would be cheaper. And then provide meals! (whether that is good or not... hospital food and all)
    nancy (aka money coach) said...
    This reminds me: my mom just told me that when I was born (1960's) she had to pay $1000, since it was before universal health care. I was amazed, but she said people didn't think anything of it.
    Anonymous said...
    being a doctor
    it is my recommendation to not do home birth
    during birth process most of the time it is ok but when things go wrong it is really wrong
    ie head gets stuck
    fluid chokes baby
    nonstopping vaginal bleed
    cord wraps around baby
    I'd go to hospital

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