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Having a baby? What do you think of first? Excitement? Joy? How about pain?

Some women are choosing to embrace the natural approach to childbirth, but insurance companies aren’t always on board.

Emily Brenner had both of her sons at home in Greensboro with a midwife by her side.

She says the choice to deliver at home was clear, but paying for the procedure wasn’t as simple. She had to pay upfront and out-of-pocket, which is something many families can not afford.

“In our country things are not set up to easily enable a woman who wants a natural birth. Things are set up so the default is the hospital,” Emily says.

However, more and more women are chosing the alternative route.

Priscilla opted for pain control with her first two children, but it did not go as planned.

“I had two epidurals and they were both failed epidurals and I figured that was God’s way of telling me that I should try for a natural birth this time around,” she says.

Like Emily, Priscilla took Hypnobirthing classes with Linda at Peaceful Beginnings in downtown Greensboro. The $300 classes are becoming very popular.

Insurance doesn’t cover the cost of childbirth classes or doulas, which are natural childbirth coaches who typically charge about $600–leaving many women to make choices based on their family’s bottom line.

New evidence shows services like nutritional counseling, doulas and lactation consulting can make a difference in a child’s birth.

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that doula support brought a 40 percent decrease in cesarean delivers in Medicaid patients, which is better for mom and baby–and a lot cheaper.