Want to hold your newborn? That’ll be $40.

Newborn baby with feet sticking out of a white blanket

Imagine this scenario:

You’ve just had a baby via c-section. The nurse places your baby on your chest for some skin-to-skin. You gaze into your newborn’s eyes, amazed that you finally get to meet this person who you’ve been growing inside you for the past nine months.

“Errr, that’ll be $39.35,” the nurse says.

“I’m sorry, what was that?” you say.

“I’m going to need $39.35 from you,” she says.

“For what?” you ask.

“This. The skin-to-skin time. It costs $39.35.”

“I just had a baby pulled out of my abdomen. How about you pay ME $39.35, you cheeky cow?” you say, because that’s the only reasonable reaction to such a stupid charge.

This is essentially what happened to a couple in Utah. The mother gave birth via c-section, and when they received their itemized bill from the hospital, they noticed a $39.35 charge for ‘skin-to-skin after c-section’.

(Their full bill, by the way, was over $13,000 – and apparently that’s pretty cheap. According to Truven Health Analytics, the average bill for a natural birth in the US is around $30,000 (£24,000). That rises to $50,000 (£39,000) for a c-section delivery. Yet another reason why I’m so grateful that I gave birth in the UK, where having the Popple cost me f**k all. Thank you, NHS.)

The father thought the charge was funny and posted a photo of the bill online, and the internet basically blew up over it.

Most people were shocked that a mother could actually be charged to hold her baby after giving birth, because…well, what else are you going to do with the baby? The doctor is going to need to put them down somewhere, and the mother’s chest seems like a more logical place than, I don’t know, the floor or something.

However, some people defended the charge. A social media user called firedoc wrote, “What isn’t free is the extra nurse who has to sit by a drugged up mom who is undergoing major abdominal surgery so she doesn’t drop the baby,” not considering the fact that supporting the mother after birth is THE NURSE’S JOB, and they don’t deserve a $39.35 tip for doing it.

The skin-to-skin bill highlights how crazy hospital charges have gotten in America, and the couple’s reaction (amusement rather than anger) shows just how accustomed people have become to paying them. Being charged to hold your newborn isn’t normal, and having to pay thousands of dollars for the privilege of giving birth is obscene. Pregnant women have enough on their minds without having to worry about whether they can afford to get their babies out of their bodies.

American mamas, you deserve better.

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29 Replies to “Want to hold your newborn? That’ll be $40.”

  1. I am literally horrified! I had no idea that a country that is supposed to be modern and reverred by people from around the world (at least for another couple of weeks vote dependent!) actually charges people to give birth. Horrified! There are no other words…

  2. Horrified. We are so lucky to have the NHS here. I hope we continue to have it. #tribe

  3. I saw this the other day and my mouth literally dropped open!
    Surely that is the mothers right, they shouldn’t charge her for them to hand over her own baby! She’s just had you cut her open be nice and let her hold the baby!
    America is just shocking! Long live the NHS!


  4. It is awful. We are so lucky to have the NHS, I can’t even imagine how stressful it would be to be worried about money while also worrying about actually, you know, giving birth. #bigpinklink

  5. It really is awful. How people can afford to give birth in a hospital in the US is beyond me. I’m so grateful we have the NHS.

  6. Oh my god! How is that even possible? What on earth are the people who come up with these figures thinking off? I’m so grateful we have the NHS, the world has gone mad!

  7. It is really shocking to think that you could be charged for holding your own child? Absolutely ridiculous. Well said, popple! Thanks for sharing with #bigpinklink

  8. This is just outrageous. I am not sure what would happen in Jersey if we gave birth because we do have to pay here. Luckily, I had both my girls in the UK as there were both c-section! #Dreamteam

  9. I’m sooo glad we have the NHS – long may it survive!

  10. #dreamteam this is sad and actually upset me. I’m not always friends with the NHS but I will fight for the right
    To free health care for all, always at a high standard. America is in a huge mess,
    Worse than any 3rd world country

  11. The UK is great for maternity care and we get a better maternity leave.

  12. I read this story – unbelievable isn’t it! #bigpinklink

  13. It is a scary thought and pretty unbelievable. I hope that things will change in the US I really do. Thank you for linking up to #familyfun.

  14. OMG, that’s crazy. I had not heard that story but that seems a tad unreasonable given the amount they were paying anyway. What happens in the U.S. over the next month or so could really affect whether things get better or worse too! #FamilyFun

  15. I am totally shocked!

    As frustrating as the NHS can be sometimes, it is something we should be so proud of – it gives world-class treatment and care to everybody, regardless of age, status, race, finance. My daughter has had many health complications and I genuinely think she wouldn’t be here today if we had to pay for her health care #FamilyFun

  16. I read this the other day, but just popping back from #FamilyFun. I remember reading this story and being absolutely shocked by this. I knew that health care was chargeable in the States but this was a just a bit crazy, to say the least. I was in fact shocked at the cost of health care in general. I am a big fan of the NHS and am nothing but thankful for it, despite the problems that we may experience along the way with it. Hopefully other parents won’t be seeing this charge on their bill anytime soon. Thanks for sharing this at #FamilyFun

  17. That is outrageous!


  18. I haven’t seen this in the news, will be googling it! Makes me appreciate the NHS so much more! How backwards can one country be that is supposedly so advanced in other areas! #ablogginggoodtime

  19. I can’t believe this! It is totally outrageous and only more outrageous that the American’s are so acclimatised to this that they found it funny! Wow! Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

  20. This is crazy! We are so fortunate to have the nhs here. I am shocked at how much they are charged for the entire delivery, that is crazy money. Claire x #FamilyFun

  21. Absolutely awful. Makes me love our NHS that little bit more.

  22. I am torn about this, I have spoken to a number of hospital staff and nurses that say that despite you not seeing the bill in countries where healthcare is free, it is probably on there. It isn’t a tip it is probably that specific nurse’s wages or a portion of it anyways. I am just happy the mom got her skin to skin time following a c-section, because of the 10 sections I know personally happening that was not the case.

  23. OHMYGOD…this is so true and typical here in the US. I probably wouldn’t have known if I had that charge on my bill because there were no less than 5 different bills with about 8,675 charges on each one. I think my last terrorist (who was born 3 years ago) cost about $29K. Insurance covered about 80% of it but I still had a bill of $6K to pay out of my pocket. And I’m one of the lucky ones who has very good insurance coverage….I have friends who had complicated births with no insurance and bills of $100K or more are common.

    (I did get charged $50 per benadryl tablet for that stay – seemed odd as it isn’t prescription and I could have bought it at the drugstore and administered it myself….)


  24. Wow this is horrifying – I missed this and just can’t believe it. Although I have heard about the hefty bills pregnant mums have to go through in the US, as well as only a few months maternity leave, which always makes me so grateful for living in the UK. The treatment I got by the NHS was amazing from start to finish – maybe I got lucky but can’t imagine being handed a bill after I gave birth. Thanks for linking up to #dreamteam Hope to see you next time x

  25. It does sound ridiculous that they should pay for the service. In England we pay through taxes. So either way the nurses/doctors/staff get paid. What’s more ludicrous is that they don’t get paid as much as footballers. #FamilyFun

  26. This is horrific. Never have I been so grateful for the NHS (although, thanks to them, I didn’t get skin to skin at all but that’s another story!) xx #ablogginggoodtime

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