“I had to pay $39.35 to hold my baby after he was born.”

A couple in the United States have shared their disbelief at being charged almost forty dollars for the privilege of holding their own newborn baby.

Uploading a picture of his itemised hospital account, Reddit user halfthrottle says his wife and he were left laughing when they were handed the bill which meant they had to pay for skin-to-skin contact after a caesarean birth.

“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 and had a laugh,” he explained.

He went on to share the birth story with other Reddit users.

“I was able to hold the baby on my wife’s chest. Her arms were tied to the table and the nurse was there to remind me not to let go so the baby didn’t fall. She actually took my camera from me and started snapping pictures for me. It was a positive experience for sure.”

Halfthrottle says that rather than being upset at the charge, they were amused and appreciated the top level care they received during the delivery and said they were well aware of the fees they would encounter during the pregnancy.

Watch: The pregnancy questions you were too afraid to ask. (Post continues below.)

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“This isn’t the only bill we will receive but we knew what we were signing up for and have some money saved up. It’s amazing to watch doctors and nurses work at that level. It takes a lot of sacrifice and hard work to get to that level,” he said.

While the internet went into a spin at the thought of new parents being charged to hold their own child, the reason for the charge is actually because of staffing. Having skin to skin contact after a c-section birth requires an additional staff member to be present in the delivery suite and therefore bills need to take this into account.

“We used to take all babies to the nursery once the NICU team made sure everything was okay. Skin to skin in the OR is a relatively new thing and requires a second Labour and Delivery RN to come in to the OR and make sure the baby is safe,” the poster explained.

viral birth photo newborn with parents

Image via iStock

While the headline is no doubt amusing, stories like this one are a reminder of just how lucky we are to have universal health care available in Australia.

Sure, we might have the occasional whinge about Medicare queues and being stuck on hold on the phone, but at the end of the day, as Australians we are fortunate to have access to a world-class health care system funded by the whole community.

We shouldn't ever take that for granted.

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