Why Hospitals Charge for Skin-to-Skin Contact After Birth

There may be instances where hospitals charge a nominal fee for parents to engage in skin-to-skin contact with their newborn after delivery. However, this fee is usually implemented only if skin-to-skin contact is not standard protocol, such as in cases of a Cesarean section.

The charge covers the presence of an additional nurse to assist with the skin-to-skin experience and ensure the baby stays safe.

According to Motherlove:

“Research has shown that immediate or early skin-to-skin contact after a cesarean birth may increase breastfeeding initiation, decrease time to the first breastfeed, reduce formula supplementation in hospital, increase bonding and maternal satisfaction, maintain the temperature of newborns and reduce newborn stress, as well as reduce NICU admissions.”

Still… don’t assume that the experience will be free. The need for another nurse to assist you may very well be included in the final bill.

Skin To Skin Charge After C-Section

When Ryan Grassley revealed a charge of $39.95 for his baby to be held skin-to-skin after birth, people were outraged.

The situation was a little more complicated, but it still elicited shocked responses.

Grassley’s child was born by C-section, and skin-to-skin time is not always a given in the operating room.

The sterile environment and the fact that the mom is still undergoing surgery make it more difficult to get the baby to her quickly.

Janet Frank, a representative for the hospital, claims that the hospital advocates skin-to-skin contact after birth.

She went on to explain that the charge is not for simply holding the baby, but to bring an additional caregiver into the operating room “to maintain the highest levels of patient safety.”

“In the case of a C-section, where the bedside caregiver is occupied caring for the mother during surgery, an additional nurse is brought into the OR to allow the infant to remain in the OR suite with the mother.”

Hospital Charges for Labor and Delivery: Bill Breakdown

How much you end up paying will depend on how you gave birth and if you had insurance coverage among other things.

Here’s a basic breakdown of labor and delivery costs in the United States if you have a vaginal delivery.

These are just the basic costs and don’t include extra charges for things like premature birth, water births, complications, or a C-section delivery. 

Hospital Charges for Mom

As the person giving birth, you will get charged for the room you stay in, the room you deliver the baby in, and all the medical needs involved with the birth.

Though your OB may deliver the baby, you can be charged by other specialists who provide services to you during your hospital stay as well.

You will also pay for the assistance of the nurses.

Hospital Charges for Baby

Your baby will be carefully monitored in the hospital, and you will pay for that.

Hearing tests, vaccines, and anything else your baby needs will fall under these charges.


Some women choose a drug-free birth, but most opt to have an epidural to help ease the pain.

Your anesthesiologist fees may be rolled into your labor and delivery bill, though you could be billed separately.

Lidocaine can be a lifesaver when you are getting an epidural because you won’t feel the pain of the procedure.

However, you will see a separate charge for this medication.


Antibiotic medications that are needed before, during, or after delivery will be charged to your labor and delivery bill.


Both you and your baby will likely have labs drawn during your hospital stay. These, of course, are not free.

Prescriptions & Pain Meds

You will also be charged for all medication you are given during your hospital stay. This includes prescribed medicines and basic pain relievers.

The price tag for a few Tylenol or ibuprofen during your hospital stay will be much more than a full bottle from the corner pharmacy.

Cost of Childbirth 

Having a baby in the United States will cost you anywhere between $13,000 and $18,000 if you have an uncomplicated vaginal delivery.

C-sections cost even more, and if you are having multiples, you will pay extra as well. 

Remember that the cost of labor and delivery is only one factor when thinking about having a baby.

Your prenatal care also has to be covered, and you will generally pay this upfront or as you go to your appointments.

With Insurance

How much you pay to have a baby when you have insurance depends on your insurance.

If your delivery was the standard $18,000, you might only end up paying $3,000 or so out of pocket. However, that’s with really good insurance.

Without Insurance

Without insurance, labor and delivery costs can be astronomical. The final amount you pay will depend on what kind of birth you had. 

When you finally get the grand total, know that you can call and negotiate with the billing department of the hospital.

Telling them you have to pay in cash without insurance may mean they will knock off certain charges or allow you to pay in installments.

However, you will likely pay much more than you would if you had insurance.

Home Birth

Having a baby at home is not an option for everyone, and you should consider the risks before deciding if this is a good idea for you and your child.

If your insurance doesn’t cover home birth, your out-of-pocket costs will likely be between $3,000 and $9,000.

It’s important to remember that your home birth could end up being a hospital birth if there are complications, which means the price will increase.