Average costs aren’t predictable, either: Having a baby in the U.S. costs between $12,000 to $30,000, depending on prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care requirements. Fertility treatment and pediatrics can drive costs even higher.

Overall, maternity care costs have increased by more than 50% over the last ten years.

Fortunately, some of the leading cost drivers, particularly in fertility and maternity care, can be mitigated by taking a proactive, holistic approach. We’ll highlight some of the most expensive complications, how they can be prevented, and why that should come as welcome news for your budget. 

Leading Cost Drivers

Fertility Treatments

Today, infertility impacts 12% of (or 1 in 8) couples in the U.S. That percentage will likely continue to increase as couples wait longer to have children. The average age of first-time mothers in the U.S. has increased from 21 to 26 in the past five decades, and first-time fathers from 27 to 31. The shift is even more pronounced in coastal regions and among college-educated women. Fertility treatments like in-vitro fertilization (IVF) are effective, but can cost upwards of $23,000 per cycle — with most couples requiring two or more cycles before achieving a successful pregnancy.

Premature Births

One in ten of all births in the U.S. are premature. Collectively, these cases account for 37% of all maternity-related costs. While that sounds surprisingly high, keep in mind that admission to a newborn intensive care unit (NICU) costs an average of $53,000, according to the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform. In addition to the upfront costs, premature births can come with long-term complications for both mother and child, requiring costly follow-up pediatric and postpartum care.

High C-Section Rates

Cesarean deliveries are costly and becoming more common. Since the 1990s, c-sections went from representing just 6% of births to 21% — a more than three-fold increase. Today, they even outnumber vaginal deliveries in parts of Latin America, Southern Europe, and China. Considering that caesareans cost 50% more to perform, that’s an expensive trend for patients and their insurers. Long-term complications, including autoimmune disorders, asthma, and even obesity, all add additional costs.

Mental Health

Mental health impacts physical health. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD) affect 15-20% of pregnant and postpartum women and are attributed to a higher prevalence of c-sections, preterm births, and absenteeism at work. Up to half of the women who miscarry suffer from major depressive disorders, often lasting up to 12 months. Not only is the trauma of miscarriage often underestimated, but partners also suffer emotionally as a result of them. A history of miscarriage is associated with a greater likelihood of anxiety and mood disorders in subsequent pregnancies.

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Controlling Costs

The above represent just some of the leading pregnancy and fertility costs. Though companies can’t eliminate these costs entirely, they can steer employees toward healthier outcomes and fewer complications with a more proactive approach. 

For every $1 spent on preconception care, $1.60 is saved in maternal and fetal care costs. Similarly, for every dollar spent on prenatal care, employers can expect savings of $3.33 for postnatal care and $4.63 in long-term morbidity costs.

It all starts with early engagement and personalized care. When couples have access to experts and on-demand educational programs from the start, they’re empowered to navigate difficult choices, change behaviors, and improve medical outcomes. A future mother with a preeclampsia diagnosis can get the attention she needs from a high-risk OB-GYN. A couple struggling with infertility can more easily navigate their options courtesy of a licensed team of experts who do not have an incentive to drive them down any particular path of treatment.

Maven is the world’s largest virtual clinic for women’s and family health. Every day, our providers help families navigate life-changing moments just like these. We provide your employees with unlimited appointments with specialists and care providers — with no additional medical claims. Our comprehensive maternity program includes ongoing assessments, proactive check-ins, and human touchpoints, helping members identify risks early and prevent costly complications.

Maven’s care model is also proven to reduce healthcare spend. In addition to a 2:1 clinical ROI, our offerings mitigate the need for costly services and NICU admission, saving patients and employers thousands in healthcare costs. At Maven, we have no financial incentive to drive patients to treatments that they don’t want or need—rather, our goal is to help couples conceive in the way that is best for them. That’s why 17% of members who join our fertility track don’t end up needing or receiving treatment. 

Beyond lowered healthcare costs, additional employer incentives include reduced employee stress and anxiety, improved productivity and innovation, higher return-to-work rates, and decreased turnover.

Taking care of your people was always the right thing to do — and now doing so saves your business thousands in healthcare expenses, too. To see how Maven supports working families, retains talent, and reduces costs, schedule a call with our team today.

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