At Birth Injury Guide, our birth injury attorney recently read a report from financial website WalletHub discussing the best and worst states in which to have a baby. The idea that some states or cities are more family-friendly than others is an interesting concept to say the least. Having a baby is an extraordinary event, but it is not without risk, expense and sometimes hardship.
In the midst of your excitement and anticipation, you may not be too concerned about factors like hospital costs or child care centers. The report from WalletHub suggests, however, that these are very relevant factors expectant parents should consider.
Are Some States Better than Others for Having a Baby?
According to the recent report from WalletHub, it seems that some states are better for having a baby than others. What do we mean by this? WalletHub researchers looked at numerous factors related to having a baby. These and other factors were compared across states and a score was appointed to each state. The score scale included:
Cost – 20 points:
- Conventional hospital delivery
- Cesarean hospital delivery
- Average cost of early child care
- Average health insurance premium cost
- Medicaid expansion decision
- Cost of a babysitter or nanny
- Cost of newborn screening
Healthcare – 40 points:
- Infant mortality rate
- Maternal mortality rate
- Rate of pre-term births
- Rate of babies born with low birth weight
- Food security rate
- Share of children receiving all seven recommended vaccines
- Quality of hospitals for women
- Quality of neonatology facilities
- Obstetricians and midwives per capita
- Family doctors and pediatricians per capita
- Fertility clinics
- Prenatal care
- Share of children 9-35 months receiving developmental screening
Baby Friendliness – 20 points:
- Parental leave policy
- Mom groups
- Childcare centers
- Nationally accredited childcare centers
- Birth rate
- State policy for Medicaid coverage
Family Friendliness – 20 points:
- Affordable housing
- Share of families with children
- Childcare costs
- Median family salary
- Crime rate
- Poverty rate
- Divorce rate
The results clearly show that some states are better equipped to handle the needs of growing families.
Best and Worst States for Having a Baby
To assign scores to each state, WalletHub collected data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Office of Legislative Research, the National Academy for State Health Policy, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the National Partnership for Women & Families, and others.
Based on their data, the five best states to have a baby in are:
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
The five worst states are identified as:
- South Carolina
In the following graphic from WalletHub, you can see how states rank compared to one another.
Advice for Expectant Parents from a Birth Injury Attorney
As a birth injury attorney, I work with new parents on a daily basis. I have found that many new parents have questions about how they could have prepared for the arrival of their newborn more effectively. While I cannot offer personal or financial advice, I can offer advice based on my experience, research and experience as a parent myself.
For expectant parents, in the flurry of excitement, it is also important to consider the real-life impact of having a child. From the moment pregnancy is confirmed your life spirals into a series of prenatal appointments, planning for delivery and preparing your home for your new arrival. Most expectant parents do not take time to consider finances, healthcare once the baby is born or whether they have access to quality care.
Here are some things that I would recommend any expectant parent consider:
- Is where you live family friendly? Are there good doctors and hospitals, schools, day care facilities and activities? Parenthood is a life-long adventure, so consider these factors when settling down.
- What about your home? Is it where you envision raising your family? Is there plenty of room, or will you need to upgrade?
- What about your car? Is it safe and family friendly? Will it properly accommodate a car seat or booster seat?
- How you will cover the cost of maternity leave. Many companies offer limited or no paid time away from work. You may find it helpful to set up a savings account well in advance of your baby’s arrival in order to stay financially secure when you need time off.
- Do you and your partner plan to purchase life insurance? If so, how much will you need? Consider things like income, employment status and any special needs your child may have.
- Do you have adequate health insurance for you and your new child? Many families find that they and their children end up with different health insurance policies due to the new laws under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Research insurance options to make sure your child is covered as soon as he or she is born.
- Did you know that having a child reduces your taxable income? New parents should review their income tax situation before filing in order to make sure they get all the deductions and credits applicable.
- If something were to happen to you and your partner, who would you want to care for your child? This is a hard thing to think about, but it is necessary. Make arrangements early to avoid your child experiencing drama if something unexpected happens.
Birth Injury Attorney Recommends Carefully Choosing Healthcare Providers and Facilities
As a birth injury attorney, I would also advise any expectant parent to carefully review doctors and hospitals in their area before making a birthing plan. Choosing the right doctors and hospital can reduce the chances of a stressful birth situation. It may also reduce the risk of your child suffering birth injuries. Make sure your chosen providers and facilities are quality, are well-equipped, and have a good reputation for women’s and children’s services.
As always, if you have questions about a birth injury, we can put you in contact with the birth injury lawyer that is right for your case.