The federal government knows having babies isn't cheap. The medical bills that come with pregnancy and childbirth are a legitimate tax deduction, just like your other medical expenses. Some spending you might think qualifies isn't deductible under federal rules, however. The rules for claiming the deduction also limit how much, if any, pregnancy-related costs you can write off.
You can deduct all the pregnancy-related physical exams, medical tests, prescription drugs and hospital and doctor visits you pay for. This includes visits to Christian Science practitioners, chiropractors and acupuncturists. If you only suspect you're pregnant and you buy a test kit to confirm it, that's a valid write-off too. You can also deduct the costs of getting an abortion, if that has to be done, or for fertility treatments to make the pregnancy possible.
You cannot take a write-off for nonprescription drugs of any sort: If it's an over-the-counter medicine, it's not deductible. There's also no deduction for all the little extras that make motherhood easier: Maternity clothes, diaper services, babysitting, nanny care or hiring household help when you're too busy with baby to clean. Nutritional supplements are generally on the Internal Revenue Service's No list, but you can write them off if your doctor explicitly recommends you take them during pregnancy.
Travel for medical care is a legitimate tax write-off. Trips you take to ob/gyn appointments, for example, are deductible, whether you get to your doctor by a bus, train, plane or car. If you use a car, you may use the standard mileage rate to calculate your deduction: As of 2012, the rate for medical purposes is 23 cents per mile. Deductible travel expenses also include ambulance costs and the cost of a nurse traveling with you if you're too sick to go alone.
You can only write off pregnancy-related and other medical expenses if you itemize deductions on Schedule A. Before claiming the deduction, subtract for any insurance or other reimbursement. Then calculate 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income: If your AGI is $80,000 a year, for example, 7.5 percent of your AGI is $6,000. Subtract that from your total allowable medical expenses and whatever remains is deductible. If it's under that amount, you can't write off anything.
A graduate of Oberlin College, Fraser Sherman began writing in 1981. Since then he's researched and written newspaper and magazine stories on city government, court cases, business, real estate and finance, the uses of new technologies and film history. Sherman has worked for more than a decade as a newspaper reporter, and his magazine articles have been published in "Newsweek," "Air & Space," "Backpacker" and "Boys' Life." Sherman is also the author of three film reference books, with a fourth currently under way.