The average cost of giving birth in the United States is around $30,000, but this sum is actually completely different in Norway. You might have heard of the cheap public health system in Norway, which actually includes childbirth. So, what’s the expected cost of giving birth in a hospital in Norway?
The cost of giving birth in Norway is 0 NOK or $0.00 USD, and both natural births and c-sections are completely free. You do not need to pay for any pregnancy or child related doctor’s appointment, midwife’s appointment or any medical help at the hospital.
As a matter of fact, not only do you get the birth for free, but the government actually pays you a sum for having a child. This will either be a flat 90,300 NOK ($9,000) or a 100 % full pay for 42 weeks of maternity leave (whichever is highest).
Why childbirth in Norway is free
Norway has a welfare system where a chunk of all the income tax people pay get put in a big fond. This is called the National Insurance Scheme (or Folketrygden in Norwegian), and gives members a lot of different rights. Some of these are very cheap doctor appointments, paid sick leave, free hospital stays, and free childbirth.
I recently had another child in Norway, so I just got some more experience with this topic. The truth is that pretty much everything is completely free, but there are a few exceptions. Let’s take a closer look at what is free and what is not free when having a child in Norway.
So what exactly is free when having a child in Norway?
Some of the things you get for free when you are pregnant, are having the child, or after having the child are:
- Doctor’s appointments related to the pregnancy. All doctor’s appointments that are directly related to your pregnancy or health issues that arise from the pregnancy (such as gestational diabetes) are free of charge.
- Midwife appointments. Always free of charge.
- Ultrasound appointments to check the baby. This is a type of health check for the baby, and not just to find out the sex of the baby. But they will tell you if it’s a boy or a girl, and even give you photos of the baby for free.
- The birth itself. Everything related to the actual childbirth is completely free.
- C-section if you need it for medical reasons. There is no fee for needing a c-section. But you cannot choose to get one for cosmetic reasons.
- All costs related to the hospital stay when giving birth. You even get free food at the hospital.
- All doctor appointments for the baby. These are all free until the child turns 16 years old.
- Doctor appointments from issues that are related to the childbirth. If you get an injury or other issue from having had the childbirth, follow-up appointments with your doctor is also free of charge.
- Midwife and nurse appointments for the baby. There are several mandatory meeting with midwives and nurses after the baby has been born to ensure that the baby is completely healthy.
So most things are free. And they are completely free as in that you don’t even need to pay for the appointment to get it refunded later, but rather free that you don’t pay at all.
You will still need to pay for certain expenses
There are also some things that might come up during the pregnancy and childbirth that will cost some money. This is not the biggest post in the budget, but they are worth keeping in mind.
Some of the expenses that you might encounter when having a baby in Norway are:
- Physical therapy. For some reason physical therapy is not really a part of the Norwegian health system, so you need to pay a co-payment for appointments with a physical therapists, even for cases where they are directly related to the pregnancy. Expect to pay around 200 – 300 NOK ($20 – $30 per session).
- If the father or co-mother want to stay at the hospital. Many hospitals allow for the father or co-mother to rent a bed to stay at the hospital together with the birthing mother and the baby after the birth. This is purely optional, but many people enjoy being together these first few days. The cost is around 500 NOK ($50) per day.
- Parking space fees at the hospital. This might not sound like a big deal, but we racked up over 1,000 NOK ($100) in parking bills for our last child after a week long stay at the hospital!
- Travel costs for getting to and from doctor’s appointments. There can be lots of medical appointments before, during and after the childbirth, and you need to pay for bus or fuel to get to and from these appointments.
That said, these costs are pretty low in total, so it’s not like you’re going to be spending a whole lot of money on having a child in Norway.
Can you travel to Norway to give birth to your child for free?
It might sound tempting to visit Norway to save $30,000 on your child birthing fees, but the reality of the situation is that it’s a big hassle to travel to Norway to get the free childbirth perk.
To actually get the free childbirth, you need to become a member of the National Insurance Scheme. This is most easily done by moving to Norway, getting a job in Norway or have family ties in Norway. So it’s not really easy for most foreigners who just want to go to Norway to give birth.
However, if the father of the child, or his family is Norwegian or lives in Norway, you can apply for membership in the National Insurance Scheme, allowing you to give birth to the baby in Norway.
That said, other means are also possible if you are determined, but it might not be worth the hassle for many of you. And while it’s possible, it takes a bit of time to get it done, so make sure to plan ahead.
How much money you get paid by the Norwegian government to have a child in 2022
If you have a child in Norway (while you are a part of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme), you get to choose between two options:
- A flat 90,300 NOK ($9,000) one-time payment from the government.
- 42 week paid leave from work. This covers 100 % of your salary.
In other words, you get a lot of money after getting a child in Norway. These costs are made to ensure that you don’t miss out on any money from working after having a child, and are not meant as incentives to get children.