Zee Media Bureau
Washington: A major study has ranked the US as the most expensive place in the world for women to give birth.
The survey comprising of 14 developed countries undertaken by the UK medical journal The Lancet also ranked Australia as the second most expensive place, behind the US, Xinhua news agency reported.
Figures compiled by The Lancet show that the cost of a caesarean section is estimated at $15,500 in the US, which was only $5,000 costlier than in Australia.
A vaginal birth in Australia cost $6,775, while in America it was $10,232.
The report said while high income countries had taken many steps to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality rates, the cost of maternity care could be high and medical liability cost "enormous".
"Although mortality is generally low, the picture is far from perfect," the journal said.
"In some settings, fear prevails among subsets of women and providers, driving increased and inappropriate intervention."
Meanwhile in India, the child delivery package (including the tests, hospitalisation and delivery) is either very low or free of cost in all the govenrnment hospitals, makng them as the main choice for the poor.
However, the costs can very in private hospitals with some starting at 15,000 rupees ($240; £160) for normal deliveries, and 25,000 rupees ($400; £265) for Caesarean deliveries, as per a BBC report.
But most urban, working parents deliver their babies in hospitals that generally charge 75,000 rupees for normal deliveries and 200,000 rupees for Caesareans. This doesn't include the cost of check-ups, ultrasounds, tests during the nine months in the run-up to the birth, adds the report.
The report noted that most women in high income countries deliver their babies in hospital, regardless of whether they have low or high-risk pregnancies.
The report also said that while hospitals were well set up to cater towards high-risk women, they were not always optimal for low-risk mums-to-be who were subjected to more interventions, such as caesarean sections and inductions of labour, than was necessary for most.
As a result, maternity care costs can escalate and some mums and newborns can face complications.
The report added that cost increases over time are largely attributed to use of interventions.
(With IANS inputs)