If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy, the odds are that you aren’t 100 percent financially ready to raise a child.

However, if you plan to carry your pregnancy to term, you will need to accept that there are certain costs involved in doing so safely. Your prenatal care costs will just be the start of the expenses you can expect during your pregnancy and the years to come of raising your child. It’s important to understand exactly what these costs entail before you get any further in your pregnancy.

In this article, you’ll find out a little more about the average prenatal care cost for a woman in your situation. If you’re worried about the cost of prenatal care and delivery, you will also find resources for free prenatal care and affordable prenatal care to make this journey a little easier on your growing family. We know the details of pregnancy can be confusing — and that’s why we’re here to help.

How Much Does Prenatal Care Cost?

Prenatal care is a necessary part of every pregnancy — not just to protect your baby’s health but to protect yours, as well. Before you get carried away buying baby supplies and other necessities for when your baby comes, you first need to be prepared for the costs of the next nine months.

You may ask: “How much does it cost for prenatal care?”

The answer to this question will depend upon several factors, including your insurance situation, the status of your pregnancy and the professionals that you choose.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average prenatal care cost for a typical pregnancy is about $2,000. This estimate accounts for about 12 doctors’ visits at about $100 to $200 each, as well as routine blood tests, urinalysis and at least one ultrasound. You should also expect to spend money on basic prenatal vitamins (which may or may not need to be prescribed by your physician) and any additional ultrasounds or testing that your doctor recommends.

If your pregnancy requires more visits or testing than the average pregnancy does, you can expect your total cost for prenatal care to be a bit higher.

There’s one important caveat to keep in mind: When we talk about average prenatal care cost, we are only referring to the medical expenses you will incur during your pregnancy. Unfortunately, not all insurance policies will cover childbirth and delivery costs at the same rate as prenatal care costs. On average, the cost of staying at the hospital for a child delivery is $3,500 per stay. Make sure you are prepared for this financial burden when you are calculating your overall cost for prenatal care.

Is There Such a Thing as Free Prenatal Care?

Yes!

For most women, free prenatal care is entirely possible. If you have insurance, your prenatal care cost is generally covered as preventative care. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, private insurance pays on average about 87 percent of the costs for prenatal care for women.

However, depending upon your insurance policy, you may be expected to pay certain co-pays or deductibles for your prenatal care. One of the first things to do when you discover your pregnancy is to review your insurance policy and contact an insurance representative. They should be able to tell you more about which prenatal care services are covered by your policy and what kind of out-of-pocket cost of prenatal care and delivery you can expect.

Don’t have insurance? You can still purchase an insurance plan even after finding out about your unplanned pregnancy. The federal government prohibits group health insurance from treating pregnancy as a pre-existing condition. However, you will want to avoid most individual health insurance plans, as they can treat pregnancy as a pre-existing condition and refuse to cover your prenatal care costs. It’s a good idea to research insurance policies to ensure you get the coverage you need for affordable prenatal care.

If you are wondering how to get free prenatal care because you are not financially prepared for your unplanned pregnancy, you might consider adoption as one of your options. If you are looking for free prenatal care, it’s more likely that you will struggle to afford the costs of raising your child. But, if you choose to place your child for adoption, you will receive free prenatal care and other living expenses assistance from your adoption agency. Adoption will cover your pregnancy costs, and you will get the satisfaction of placing your child with a family who is 100 percent prepared for the costs of parenthood to give your child the best opportunities possible.

How to Find Affordable Prenatal Care

If you’re in a tight financial spot, you may be looking for cheap, low-cost prenatal care to work with your personal budget. Whether you have insurance or not, there are a few steps you can take to find affordable prenatal care near you:

  • Apply for Medicaid: Medicaid is a government-sponsored health insurance program for low-income families. If you are pregnant, you can apply for Medicaid to receive adequate prenatal and postpartum care. You will need to contact your local Medicaid office for more information about the requirements in your state and the steps you’ll need to take to obtain coverage.
  • Find a low-cost prenatal care clinic: There are many family-planning clinics that exist to help women in your situation. Consider finding your local Planned Parenthood or community health center for prenatal care that usually comes at a fraction of the cost at a larger, private obstetrician’s office.
  • Shop around with your insurance: If you have insurance, your first step should be to contact your provider and find out which local clinics and physicians will accept your insurance. Your insurance can usually provide an estimate for its clients’ average prenatal care cost. Think smart about what kind of services you want and which you don’t need during your prenatal care, and search out generic prescriptions for any medications that your physician provides.

The cost for prenatal care in the United States can certainly seem overwhelming at times for expectant mothers, especially if you had no prior plans to become pregnant. But, with a little research and preparation, finding affordable prenatal care to keep yourself and your baby healthy is not as hard as it may seem.

For more information about prenatal care costs in your area and how to get free prenatal care, please contact a local family-planning clinic.