USA or Canada? Where should I have my baby?

Since I had my second child, the most common question I have gotten from people who are familiar with my first experience is “which experience is better? USA or Canada?” or something like “Are they the same?” to which I answer, they both have their pros and cons

Left to me, I wanted to have my children in the same country, preferably USA, but my visa expired a few months before my due date, and I couldn’t get an early interview date. A lot of other things happened along the way (which I will try to summarise in a later blog post cos it is enough to fill a book), that kept blocking my decision to travel to the US. Almost three months after having my baby now, I still hadn’t gone for my interview, having missed two opportunities to go for interview before I went to Canada. But don’t let me get ahead of myself, as these things will be revealed later.

So to the meat of this post. I know there’s currently a lot of controversy and fear around having your child abroad, with Trump tightening up systems around illegal and legal immigration, causing Nigerians to panic and run to other countries like Canada. But the truth is that having your children abroad for the sole reason of citizenship is
still legal so you are not breaking any laws if this is your desire. As long as you don’t lie to immigration officials and you pay your bills, you should be fine. If that is one of the investments you want to give your child, please go for it.

If you are trying to decide whether you should have your child in USA or Canada for several reasons, ranging from

1. You had your first child in the US, but were denied visa to have the second, so you are now considering Canada

2. You are about to become a first time mother, and trying to decide what country is best for you and your family

3. You had your first child in the US, and are considering Canada for the second because you believe the overall experience might be better

4. You had your first and/or more child in Nigeria, and want to give your new child a better future

5. You have both US and Canadian visa, and are torn between which of the two countries to have your child(ren) in

I hope this will be able to help.

Firstly, your childbirth experience in USA or Canada will largely depend on what state you plan to have your baby, as USA and Canada are very large countries having several cultures, systems, and processes operating in them. I will be using my experience in Houston and Toronto as case studies here. Those are the two cities I had my babies in, and thankfully, the cities most Nigerians who deliver abroad have their babies in.

When it comes to cost, which I know is the foremost on the mind of most people when they want to have their children abroad, Canada is only slightly cheaper than USA. This might seems surprising to a lot of people reading this, but if you carry out your research well, you will find US hospitals who charge out of pocket patients very cheap prices. In fact, the prices are cheaper than the Canadian hospitals when exchange rate is applied, but it is the extra bills (paediatrician, pathology, epidural, etc) that make the US hospitals slightly higher. Canada doesn’t charge for pathology and hearing test.
US hospitals have more paparazzi when it comes to birth experience. They fawn over you more, treat you better, and basically give you a better experience. You get to go home with a lot of freebies like diapers, milk, diaper bag, wipes, blankets, sitz bath, baby and mother toiletries, and other souvenirs. Canadian hospitals give you nothing. You read right… absolutely nothing, not even the blanket you wrapped your baby with. Honestly, if the Canadian experience were my first birth experience, I would have been very pained. Since it was my second, I just said “let them have it all, I have all I need at home.”

US hospitals allow you to stay for two days for vaginal delivery, and three days for caesarean section when you have paid the required fees for both, while Canadian hospitals allow you to stay for just one day for vaginal delivery or even caesarean section. Anything more than that, you will pay extra… a whole lot extra. This is why people don’t even pray to have CS in Canada, and some people even still go home after one day after having CS, cos who wants to be paying thousands of dollars per night when they can recover and take painkillers at home?

Right now, it might look like everything is favouring birthing in USA against Canada, but that exactly where it ends

Anyone who has had a child outside Nigeria knows delivering the child is just the first half of the journey. The second half starts immediately when you have to start processing bills and your baby’s documents, which is the main reason for your journey, and that’s where Canada unexpectedly jumps ahead of the game like an underdog

In US, specialists like paediatricians, anaesthesiologists, pathologists, etc don’t work with the hospital. These services are outsourced to medical management companies. So after childbirth, you have to literally chase all these companies one after the other to send your bills on time, so you can negotiate them where necessary, then pay, then chase them some more to send your zero balance. This whole process can take 4-8 weeks. And if you want to be a sneaky and dishonest Nigerian, you wouldn’t bother calling/chasing them since they are not hell bent on reaching out to you, then you leave the US without completing your bills, and think you have gone scot free. Please and please, don’t ever do this. Always clear all your bills and get your zero balance statement before leaving the US. Thankfully, this isn’t the case in Canada, where paediatricians, anaesthesiologists, pathologists, etc are staff of the hospital. You pay for all these services in cash as soon as they are administered, and they cost nothing when compared to the US, which I have already mentioned. To make things easier, they are even negotiable. You are allowed to price them the way we price tomatoes in the market. Unlike US where it can take you 4-8 weeks to clear your bills and get your statement, it takes minutes in Canada, where you get your receipt on the spot.

When it comes to baby documents like birth certificate, international passport, and travel document (Nigerian visa or Nigerian passport), assuming you do not expedite, processing times are slightly shorter in Canada than in the US. Although US hospitals register your birth with the state for you while you have to do that yourself in Canada (which eats into your processing time), you get your documents faster in Canada. Canada also gives you the option of using an Emergency Travel Certificate as your baby’s travel document, as against US where you have to get a visa or a Nigerian passport. It was a bit easier when they introduced Visa on arrival 2 years ago, but now, it is no more allowed for babies, so we are back to the grind.

Generally speaking, US is more commercialized that Canada, so things are cheaper in the US that in the part of Canada I stayed, which is Toronto. I mean things like food items, transportation, accommodation, etc.

At the end of the day, the choice is yours to make. Using the pros and cons I have listed here, I trust you will make the best decision for yourself, family, and the future of your children.


  1. Very insightful and informative. Will you try UK for the next one? :-)

  2. Thanks Atilola for your honest opinion. I had my first baby in Virginia, US and it was CS. Going from your experience shared, I would love to repeat US all over again. @HighlyFavoured, there's no benefit to having your baby in the UK i.e citizenship


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