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Royal baby birth on the cheap? Why US births can cost much more.

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Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

(Read caption) A mask depicting Britain's Duchess of Cambridge and clocks showing New York and London time, which were placed by members of the media, are seen across St. Mary's Hospital exclusive Lindo Wing in London, Sunday. Buckingham Palace officials say Prince William's wife, Kate, has been admitted to the hospital in the early stages of labor on Monday.

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Is it possible that the birth of the heir to the British throne could cost less than the delivery of your everyday American Joe or Jane?

It’s not as far-fetched as one would assume. Sure, the Duchess of Cambridge, better known as Kate Middleton, is giving birth in a private wing of one of the top hospitals in London, with a suite that includes a birthing pool, satellite TV, radio, Internet access, daily newspapers, and a private catering staff. 

But the United States boasts the highest costs for childbirth in the world, according to a recent report by the New York Times and the charges for delivery have about tripled since 1996.

For women without insurance in the United States, or for the 62 percent of women in private insurance plans that lack maternity coverage, the cost of maternity care could range from $4,000 to $45,000. 

Comparatively, the cost of delivery at the duchess’s posh birthing suite, the same place where Princes William and Harry were born in the 1980s, reportedly costs up to £10,000, or about $15,300. Of course, that doesn't include the reported pre-delivery yoga classes at Kensington Palace or visits to private birthing coaches, and the cost will increase if the duchess uses extra services during the birth, like a Caesarean section or pain-reducing drugs. 

Beyond the royal scale, average births in the US far exceeds the costs in Britain.


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