The Cost of Having a Baby in Australia With No Insurance

Photo by insung yoon on Unsplash.

In August 2016, I fell pregnant without insurance.

I do have the minimum insurance required by our government (basically it will cover me if I end up in hospital unexpectedly), but nothing that would cover having a baby in a private hospital, or being able to select my doctor, midwife, or elective caesarean.

So I had to have my baby through the public hospital system.

We have a couple of options for public hospital births. You can use the full public system, which means it is free but you have to attend the hospital you will labor in for all appointments and ultrasounds. You can also use a “shared care” option which means many appointments are with a local doctor (these are not free but subsidized by our government)  and the later appointments and check-ups are with the hospital you will labour at (free).

I chose the shared care option as I have a local doctor whom I can walk to, versus the hospital which was an Uber ride away (unless my mother or husband was able to drive me).

I decided to keep track of the actual costs of my pregnancy, as I am a bit of a spreadsheet nerd. So began the nine months of baby growing and number tracking!

Item Out of Pocket Rebates
Pregnancy & Ovulation Testing Kit (all in one box) $70.00
Doctor Visit $150.00 $105.55
Ultrasound 6 week scan $170.00 $51.00
Doctor Visit $76.00 $37.05
Ultrasound 11 Week Scan $60.00 $51.00
NIPT Percept Genetic Test $449.00
Doctor Visit $76.00 $37.05
Ultrasound 13 Week Scan $250.00 $59.50
Doctor Visit $76.00 $37.05
Ultrasound 20 Week Scan $280.00 $86.00
Doctor visit $78.00 $40.10
Uber to & from Hospital Checkup $24.00
Doctor Visit – includes free Whooping Cough vaccination $78.00 $40.10
Doctor Visit $78.00 $40.10
Antenatal Lessons $200.00
Doctor Visit $78.00 $40.10
Doctor Visit $78.00 $40.10
Hospital Emergency parking (false alarm) $15.00
Doctor Visit $78.00 $40.10
Maternity Clothes & Nursing Bras (H&M, Target, Ebay) $565.00
New Robe & Slippers for Hospital $49.00
Pregnancy Vitamins, Vitamin D & Probiotics $280.00
Creams for stretch marks (they didn’t work) $29.00
Maternity Pads and Underwear for after birth $31.00
Heat/Cool packs for labour $8.00
General chemist goods (Raspberry leaf tea, metamucil and quickeze) $73.00
Parking at the hospital on the day (total includes the 2 nights we were there) $86.00
SUBTOTAL $3,485.00

Those figures are in AUD; you can assume I spent roughly $2,178 (after rebates) in USD.

A few caveats to the spreadsheet:

Most costs are variable, such as how much you want to spend on maternity wear, whether you buy secondhand or new, do you want to take vitamins and what brand, etc.

Another two big variables are the costs of ultrasounds and the option to do DNA testing. I chose to DNA testing as I am over 35 years old and it was recommended, and I also paid for my own ultrasounds. I could have gone to the hospital to wait in line for the free ultrasounds, but I chose to pay for these and decided to let my family come with me, so my grandmother had the pleasure of seeing her great-granddaughter in utero. Fun!

Today as I sit and look at my happy little four-month-old, I think back to the pregnancy and the public system that let me bring her into the world safely (and very cost-effectively) and feel happy that I was able to do that—and that my taxes allow other women the same experience I had.

Rebecca Goodwin lives in Australia with her husband and four-month-old little girl. The little one’s favorite things are her bouncer, jazz music, and throwing up on her mother.

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