Australia is one of the most expensive countries in the world for women to give birth, according to a new study.
The survey, by UK medical journal The Lancet, surveyed 14 developed countries including Australia and the United states on the costs of caesarean and natural births.
Australia came in second to the United States overall, with the average C-section costing an estimated $US10,500 ($A14,086), $US5,000 ($A6,708) cheaper than in the US.
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While 68 per cent of Australian women deliver naturally, we also have the highest rate of C-sections of the 14 countries, at 32 per cent.
A natural birth here costs $US6,775 ($A9,089), compared to in the US where it costs $US10,232 ($A13,726).
The Lancet’s Maternal Health Series released today, is compiled to present data evaluating maternal health services around the world to policy makers and planners.
“With a focus on low-income and middle-income countries, we present data that policy makers and planners can use to evaluate whether maternal health services are functioning to meet needs of women nationally, and potentially subnationally”, the report says.
Two per cent of Australian women deliver at birthing centres, and less than one per cent opt for home birth, which according to the report drives up costs.
The data revealed most women in Australia will deliver in hospital, whether their pregnancy is low or high-risk.
“Although mortality is generally low, the picture is far from perfect.
“In some settings, fear prevails among subsets of women and providers, driving increased and inappropriate intervention”, the report said.
Australia was also second-highest for mums over 35 giving birth at 23 per cent – just behind Spain at 35 per cent.
40 per cent of the total maternal deaths in Australia were of women over 35.