You’ve spent hours curating the perfect nursery for your little bundle of joy. The onesies are folded, the crib is assembled, and you handpicked the sweetest little bunny to keep your baby company in his nursery. But there’s one more thing you need to prepare before bringing your baby home- your bank account.

If you’re about to give birth, your personal checking account needs to look just as cushy as that fifty-dollar knit blanket you just bought at Pottery Barn Kids.

Just ask the proud new father who has gone viral after posting the itemized charges listed on his bill from labor and delivery. The grand total? $13,280.49. But that’s not the worst part- the family was charged $39.35, for “skin to skin” time after the baby was born via C-Section. That’s right, the hospital charged the father almost 40 bucks to hold his own newborn child.

The father later posted on Reddit: “The nurse let me hold the baby on my wife’s neck/chest. Even borrowed my camera to take a few pictures for us. Everyone involved in the process was great, and we had a positive experience. We just got a chuckle out of seeing that on the bill.”

Although he and the baby’s mother were able to laugh about the incident, this story serves as one more example of the oppressive costs associated with childbirth.

Labor and delivery costs are soaring higher than ever before. In the United States, bringing a baby into the world can cost you anywhere from a couple thousand dollars to several thousand, depending on a variety of factors including: insurance coverage, type of delivery, and whether there were complications associated with the delivery. Parents.com reports that on average, U.S. hospital deliveries cost $3,500 per stay.

So what can we do about it? Healthcare costs have been on the rise for years, with no end in sight. Is there anything that can be done to soften the financial burden for our families?

While there’s not much we can do to reduce the hefty price tag, there are several ways to mitigate costs associated with childbirth:

  1. Be informed. Review your insurance plan, and educate yourself about pre-natal and post-natal coverage. Double check that you are considered “in network” with both your OBGYN’s office, AND the hospital where you plan to deliver. Don’t forget to inquire about which tests and screenings are covered by your plan, and which ones are not.

Consider your deductibles for both you, as an individual, and your family. Plan accordingly, and pay attention to what costs will go toward your deductible.

  1. Plan Ahead. Are you financially stable enough to have a child? If the answer is no or maybe, then you probably shouldn’t take the plunge. Healthcare costs are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the money required to raise a child.

Children are expensive, and birth control is cheap. Choose wisely. Knowing your family is financially fit enough to care for a child will save you many sleepless nights.

  1. Negotiate your bill. When you receive your bill in the mail, study it up and down. Are there ridiculous charges, for things like “skin to skin” time? If you see something that looks peculiar, don’t mistake the issuance of the hospital bill as the end of the road. It’s not uncommon for a hospital bill to contain errors.

Call the billing department and ask questions. Many times hospitals are willing to negotiate a reduced price for your out-of-pocket costs, especially if you’ve disputed charges listed on the bill. Some hospitals even provide discounts if you pay your bill in one lump sum and payments plans as well.

Bottom line: Educate yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your homework can save you cash in the long run. And I think most parents will agree that after you have a child, you need all the extra cash you can get.

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Emily Music

Emily Music is an attorney turned stay at home momma living in Southern Ohio. She is the mother of a curly-headed toddler named Meredith, and wife to her Kentucky basketball enthusiast husband, Sean. Emily's passions include writing for her blog at http://www.notyourbasicmom.com/, and traveling the country with her family. She gets by with a little help from her friends (and coffee).

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