FRIDAY, July 10, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The cost of having a baby in a hospital varies by nearly $10,000 across the United States, a new study finds.
The analysis of 2011 data from 463 hospitals nationwide found the average bill for a maternity stay ranged from $1,189 to $11,986.
Costs at hospitals with higher rates of cesarean delivery or serious pregnancy complications were much higher than those with lower rates, according to the study in the July issue of the journal Health Affairs.
Childbirth is the leading reason for hospitalization in the United States, but there has been little comparison of the costs of having a baby at hospitals across the nation, the Yale School of Medicine researchers noted.
"Hospital practices might be an important contributor to the variation in costs, and there may be opportunities for cost reduction," team leader Xiao Xu, assistant professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale, in New Haven, Conn., said in a school news release.
"These may include safely reducing cesarean deliveries, increasing the coordination of care, and emphasizing the value of care through new payment and delivery systems," Xu suggested.
The U.S. Office on Women's Health has more about labor and birth.