Health care costs associated with pregnancy and childbirth average almost $19,000, including $2,854 in out-of-pocket expenses, according to a new analysis of large employers’ insurance claims.

Published by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) in conjunction with the Peterson Center on Healthcare, the analysis compares three years of health care claims for reproductive-aged women between 15 and 49 who gave birth with claims for women who had not given birth. “The benefit of this approach is that it allows us not only to look at the cost of the delivery, but also at all health costs associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care,” the authors note.

Women who give birth incur an extra $18,865 in total health care spending over three years than other women. This includes an average of an additional $19,906 spent on inpatient and outpatient costs, which is partially offset by a $1,040 reduction in prescription drug spending. Researchers say the lower drug costs likely reflect that pregnant women do not take birth control pills, which is one of the most common prescriptions for women of reproductive age. Additionally, some other drugs are considered unsafe to take during pregnancy.

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