How Much Does Skin-to-Skin Cost?
Yesterday it was all over my newsfeed. An image of an itemized hospital bill with one line highlighted. “Skin to skin after c-sec $39.35” Did you see it?
This image went viral and many people began to express their outrage. A person being charged to hold their baby?
What it comes down to is: hospitals are businesses. And like any business they must make money. Costs are passed onto consumers to allow the hospital to stay open and pay their employees.
In this case, a person is NOT being charged money for holding their own baby, per se. What some people may not be aware of is that when a person has a cesarean section, they are given medications, including anesthesia, that may make them a little unsteady.
In order for someone to be able to hold their baby after a cesarean they may need some assistance. Sure, her partner could help, but for liability reasons, a hospital employee must be there at the mother’s side to ensure the safety of the baby.
Often times the baby’s nurse has specific duties he or she is responsible for completing that may not allow him or her to also assist in skin-to-skin accommodations and an additional person is truly needed. So while yes, the coding on the bill may be a poor choice of words, for the baby’s safety, an additional staff member was necessary and the hospital requested compensation.
While some people are angered by this, I choose to see it differently. For many women, being allowed to hold their baby skin-to-skin immediately after a cesarean birth isn’t an option. A hospital was willing to deviate from the standard practice of simply holding the baby up for a few seconds for the new parents to see, then rushing him or her off to a warmer to assess and be swaddled, and instead allowing the mother to hold her new baby, skin-to-skin, to feel and smell and kiss her new baby that she ever so bravely brought into this world, while also ensuring it was done in the safest way possible. Those first few moments of holding and bonding with your baby are certainly priceless.