The best things in life are free. Well, they should be at least.
Yesterday, a new dad took to Reddit to share the news that his wife was charged $39.35 just to hold her newborn after a c-section, writing:
During the C-section the nurse asked my wife if she would like to do skin to skin after the baby was born. Which of course anyone would say yes too. We just noticed it in the bill today.
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.
The thread has since collected upwards of 10,000 comments, expressing everything from sympathy to outrage.
The family's experience is slightly less surprising when you consider the fact that skin-to-skin contact following cesareans is still relatively uncommon, and 75 percent of women who have C-sections are separated from their babies immediately after the surgery. According to the most recent CDC data, only 32 percent of U.S. hospitals even allow skin-to-skin within two hours of a cesarean births, instead administering post-op care to moms and newborns in different rooms to reduce the risk of complications.
"I believe that skin to skin for uncomplicated non-emergency c-births should be the norm. Unfortunately it's not," Bliss told mindbodygreen. "The problem is that skin-to-skin during a surgical delivery is a relatively 'new' practice that hospitals are just starting to allow. Treating surgical births as a sacred experience should not be a new concept in my opinion."
Doula and Ayurvedic specialist Viji Natarajan agrees, citing the healing power of a mother's touch as reason enough to allow skin-to-skin contact after all hospital births. (Science shows that holding a baby after birth can help regulate the newborn's body temperature and heart rate as well as strengthen the bond between mother and child.)
"Frankly, skin to skin should not be a privilege, yet an integral part of the birthing process. We cannot be charging patients more money to incorporate healthy practices that actually support positive health," she told mindbodygreen. "Skin to Skin has so many researched benefits that down the line would reduce medical expenses."
We couldn't agree more; It's wrong to discourage a process that's so inherently natural, beautiful and ultimately beneficial.