Most U.S. births involve complications of some sort, costing thousands of dollars each time, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported on Friday.
The agency found that nine out of 10 women giving birth suffered complications ranging from ectopic pregnancies--when the embryo develops outside the uterus--to perineal tears during delivery. The agency also classified births among women older than 35 as being complicated.
The report said that women with pregnancy and delivery complications tended to have longer hospital stays and those stays were nearly 50 percent more expensive: $4,100 for a difficult pregnancy and $3,900 for a complicated delivery versus $2,600 for routine deliveries.
Medicaid paid for more than 45 percent of these complicated stays, while private insurance paid for almost 43 percent.
"Pregnancy- and delivery-related complications accounted for $17.4 billion, or nearly 5 percent, of total U.S. hospital costs," the agency said in a statement.
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