What should you expect when you’re expecting? Besides the obvious — a bundle of joy, sleepless nights, and non-stop laundry — expectant parents also know they’ll likely be seeing shrinking wallets. With August being one of the months with the highest number of births, a study was recently conducted by WalletHub to determine which states were baby friendly and which are the worst states to have a baby.
Overall, North Carolina didn’t fare too well, coming in 42nd out of 51 (50 states plus the District of Columbia) and making it one of the worst states, according to WalletHub’s results, to bring in a bundle of joy.
The study looked at delivery budget (i.e., infant care costs, hospital delivery and cesarean charges, and cost of living), health care (i.e., rate of low birth weight, number of pediatricians per capita, infant and maternal mortality, and number of fertility clinics per capita) and baby friendliness (i.e., number of child care centers or mom groups per capita and parental leave policies), with weighted indicators.
According to the International Federation of Health Plans, Americans pay the highest birthing costs in the world, with the price tag of conventional delivery averaging $10,002, with another $5,238 added to the tab for a C-section. Those without maternity health coverage can expect double or triple those costs. Those figures do, however, vary from state to state and even among women, since some experience complications that could even further hike the cost.
In terms of delivery budget, North Carolina scored slightly worse than the national average, coming in at 32nd for the costs associated with delivery, but doing better than the national average with hospital cesarean charges, for which the state was ranked 18th.
Despite the great strides being made in the health care field by North Carolina giants like Duke and Chapel Hill, the state scored, of the three broad categories evaluated, worse in the health care area than in the other two, falling perilously near the bottom with a ranking of 41st. Only nine other states scored worse for infant mortality and only 11 fared worse for rate of low birth weight.
The state ranked 36th for overall baby friendliness, with a rank of 21 for number of child care centers per capita and 23rd for parental leave policy.
Vermont, Maine and Connecticut were deemed the top three states to have babies, while Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi were 49th, 50th, and 51st, respectively. Virginia fared well, ranking 15th nationally, Tennessee came in at 37th, and South Carolina rested on the scale right above her northern neighbor, coming in at 41st. South Carolina and Tennessee ranked 2nd and 3rd for lowest annual infant care costs.
Telephone calls to Bladen Healthcare’s delivery unit were not returned.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.