Being pregnant for the first time (or any time, for that matter) can leave any woman in a state of panic. You stress about things like what food you should eat, what nursery theme you should go with, and so on. There are endless things to try to plan for, but there's one thing a seasoned parenting team will tell you: you can't plan for everything! That detailed birth plan you meticulously created ahead of the delivery may have to be thrown out at the last minute. Your idea of a natural, drug-free birth may wither in the face of labor pains (mine sure did) or because of medical reasons. But whether you choose to get an epidural or need one last-minute, how much does it actually cost?
Birth is expensive in the United States, even if you have good and reliable health care. An epidural is a top choice for pain management, and according to FAIR Health, there is a very specific way anesthesiologists calculate how much the medication costs. Not only is this important to note, but it's also vital to point out that not all anesthesiologists will be in your network (out-of-network doctors will mean more money). You should find out if your anesthesiologist is in your network, which will ensure your prices remain fair.
As of 2016, the average cost of an epidural was $2,132, which may vary considerably depending on where you live. Anesthesia is also separate from the rest of the bill for labor and delivery, and the doctor bills will be on top of whatever the hospital charges for admission and its per diem fees.
Anything can happen during labor and delivery, and you should always be prepared for things that cost extra money. But if new parents do their research into hospitals, doctors, and all the fees surrounding the event of birth, the bill can come as less of a shock. So while you can't plan for everything, you can do your homework and be armed with good information about how much you can expect to pay. Plus, at the end of everything, you get to have your own bundle of joy!