Dad Charged $40 To Hold Baby, Highlights Childbirth Costs in US

By Chika Dunu, Epoch Times
October 4, 2016 Updated: October 4, 2016

A detailed, itemized medical bill of a Caesarean section delivery for one family highlights the miscellaneous cost of childbirth in the United States.

Reddit user halfthrottle uploaded the image of the hospital’s statement onto the social media platform under the headline, “I had to pay $39.35 to hold my baby after he was born.”

The medical bill total was $13,280.49 for several services. However, a $39.45 charge for “skin to skin after c sec” is what captured the attention of both the parents and social media users. The dad explained the circumstances surrounding the charge.

“The nurse let me hold the baby on my wife’s neck/chest. Even borrowed my camera to take a few pictures for us. Everyone involved in the process was great, and we had a positive experience. We just got a chuckle out of seeing that on the bill,” he wrote.

Some Reddit users lambasted the American healthcare system for what they saw as an unnecessary charge; while international users shared the costs of childbirth in their respective nations. Reddit user FiftySixer, who is a labor and delivery nurse elaborated that charge was for an additional medical personnel to watch the baby as it is being held by the mother.

“As a labor and delivery nurse, I can kind of explain this. I didn’t know that hospitals charged for it, but doing ‘skin to skin’ in the operating room requires an additional staff member to be present just to watch the baby,” she further explained.

“We used to take all babies to the nursery once the NICU team made sure everything was okay. ‘Skin to skin’ in the OR is a relatively new thing and requires a second Labor and Delivery RN to come in to the OR and make sure the baby is safe.”

According to data compiled by Castlight Health, the costs of childbirth can be steep, with the national average cost of vaginal childbirth is upward $8,000, whereas c-sections is $11,525. However, prices don’t just vary by procedure, but also geographically.

The highest average price for vaginal deliveries were in California cities: Sacramento, where the average cost was $15,420 and San Francisco, where the average cost was $15,204. The least costly city for a routine vaginal delivery was in Kansas City, Missouri, where the average price was $6,075. In New York City, the cost for a routine vaginal delivery ranged from $4,022 to $17,646.

As for c-sections, Sacramento and San Francisco again were the costliest at $27,067 and $21,799, respectively. The lowest price for a c-section is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where it cost $4,419.