Skin-to-Skin Contact Charge and Other Unexpected Costs

Having a baby isn’t cheap, but there are services you expect to show up on the bill and services you don’t. Lately, parents have been extremely surprised by what they’ve been asked to pay for when having their kids.

Do hospitals really charge for skin-to-skin? Yes, some hospitals do charge a fee for you to hold your child skin-to-skin after birth. However, not all hospitals do this, and the hospitals that do, don’t charge in every circumstance. They charge when skin-to-skin contact is not a given, such as after a C-section.

Fair or outrageous? It’s important to understand the logic, or lack thereof, of hospital fees to understand if they are truly reasonable.

Hospital Charges for Labor and Delivery

Understanding the bill you receive for labor and delivery isn’t always easy, and it’s impossible to anticipate every charge that will appear.

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.

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.


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.


You will also be charged for any medication you are given during your hospital stay. This includes something as simple as Advil.

These are basic costs that don’t include a premature birth, complications, or a C-section delivery. 

Cost of Childbirth 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.

How Much Does Labor and Delivery Cost 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 number, it’s important to know you can call and negotiate with the billing department of the hospital.

Telling them you are having 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.

Hospital Charges for Labor and Delivery You May Not Expect

It can feel like your hospital didn’t actually expect you to read your labor and delivery bill when you see some of the charges that appear on it.

Though you may recognize the items you are being charged for, you will be absolutely floored by the price.

1. Skin To Skin After C-Section

When Ryan Gassley 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.

Gassley’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 mom is still undergoing surgery make it more difficult to get the baby to her quickly.

The hospital explained that the charge was actually for the extra nurse who had to be there to monitor mom and baby since mom was still technically undergoing a medical procedure while holding a baby.

2. Lidocaine

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.

3. Basic Pain Relievers

You will recognize the name, but the price tag for a few Tylenol or ibuprofin during your hospital stay will be much more than a full bottle from the corner pharmacy.

Related Questions: 

How Much Does It Cost To Have a Baby in the US?

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 get to 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.

How Much Does It Cost To Have a Baby at Home?

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.

Final Thoughts

Giving birth is expensive, and it’s important to look over the bill you are sent to make sure you weren’t charged for anything you shouldn’t have been. Don’t be surprised if you see charges that seem strange.