ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) — The cost of having one child costs about $21,000, and that number increases dramatically for multiple deliveries: $105,000 for twins and more than $400,000 to have triplets or more children.

The new study published in the American Journal of Obstetricians & Gynecology looked at not only the skyrocketing price tag of having one child, but also the finding that twin births cost nearly five times as much as one child, and triplets or more cost almost 20 times more than having one child.

“On average, combined all-cause health care expenses for mothers with twins or higher-order multiple births were about five and 20 times more expensive, respectively, than singleton delivery,” lead investigator Dongmu Zhang, PhD, Global Health Outcomes, Merck & Co., wrote in a statement.

Zhang added: “For singleton pregnancy, maternal expenses accounted for about 60 percent of overall cost. Whereas for twins or higher-order multiple births, expenses for infant care accounted for about 70 percent and 85 percent of total expenses, respectively.”

Multiple pregnancies and childbirth significantly increase the health risks for both mothers and infants, and also have a large impact on healthcare costs.

Researchers noted increasing use of reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization and ovulation induction that are combining with longer hospital stays to drive up costs.

“The greater expenses were likely to have been due to increased maternal morbidities, significantly increased use of cesarean section and longer hospital stay for the deliveries in women with multiple pregnancies, and increased admission and longer stay in NICU for neonates of multiple gestations,” the researchers said in a press release.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 3 percent of all U.S. births were multiple deliveries in 2010. Twins accounted for 33.2 per 1,000 live births and triplet or a higher rate of births accounted for 1.4 per 1,000 live births.

The researchers studied women aged 19-45 years who delivered one or more babies between 2005 and 2010. The full study included 437,924 delivery events, 97 percent of which were single births, while 2.85 percent were twins and 0.13 percent included rates for triplets and higher.


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