Our friend Lori, who sat in for Joe Dredge on the WROK Morning Show while Joe was off on a medical leave, is pregnant. If you were to ask her, she'd probably say "Very pregnant." Lori and her husband Ryan will welcome their baby girl in just a couple of months. Lori's child will be born here in Illinois, as were my two, and it's likely that yours were, too. But, could we have picked a better state in which to give birth?

The short answer is yes. It looks like we have about 29 other states that rate higher on WalletHub's list of the Best and Worst States to Have a Baby. Not that the number 30 spot is a bad place to be, seeing as how there are 20 states that are looking up at us.

What should you expect when you’re expecting? Besides possibly the best thing that could happen in your life, you’ll be taking a huge hit to the wallet because having a baby is expensive. Between one-time expenses such as a crib and stroller and ongoing costs that include diapers and formula — not to mention unexpected financial setbacks — it’s easy to exceed even the most immaculately conceived budget.

And don’t forget to count the medical and hospital bills. According to the International Federation of Health Plans, Americans already pay the highest birthing costs in the world, with the price tag of conventional delivery averaging $10,002. Add another $5,238 to that tab for a C-section. But if you have no maternity health coverage, including Medicaid, you can expect those prices to double or even triple. Bear in mind, however, that birthing costs can also vary significantly from state to state, considering the wide differences in cost of living — and even pregnancy to pregnancy, as some women experience complications with childbirth that could increase the expense.

So, is it the cost? Post-delivery expenses? Size and decoration of the birthing suite? To figure out their rankings, WalletHub looked at:

...analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia to give expectant parents an idea of the delivery costs, health-care accessibility and baby friendliness of each state. Our data set of 17 key metrics ranges from “hospital Caesarean-delivery charges” to “annual average infant-care costs” to “number of pediatricians per capita.”

Here's the top ten states:

  1. Vermont
  2. Maine
  3. Connecticut
  4. Minnesota
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Hawaii
  7. Oregon
  8. Massachusetts
  9. North Dakota
  10. Washington

Illinois comes in at the #30 spot, with the breakdown looking like this:

Having a Baby in Illinois (1=Best; 25=Avg.)
28th – Hospital Cesarean-Delivery Charges
28th – Hospital Conventional-Delivery Charges
34th – Average Annual Infant-Care Costs
36th – Infant-Mortality Rate
28th – Rate of Low Birth-Weight
30th – Number of Midwives & OB-GYNs per Capita
36th – Number of Pediatricians & Family Doctors per Capita
20th – Number of Child-Care Centers per Capita
9th – ‘Parental Leave Policy’ Score

Oh, and for those who've never gone through it before, and find themselves gasping at the costs related to a baby, you've got to remember that kids today are far more advanced than you and I once were:

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