Do you find our website to be helpful?
Yes   No

Mom and Baby Benefit from Skin to Skin Contact After Birth

Skin-to-skin contact between moms and newborn babies directly after birth can be used to promote breastfeeding and may give babies a healthier start in life, according to a new analysis of already existing study data.

Women who had skin-to-skin contact with their unclothed babies immediately  after delivery were more likely to breastfeed for a longer period of time than women who didn’t have their babies placed on their skin right away, the data shows.

“The more you can do to place the mother and baby together and disturb them as little possible during that first hour, the better off they’ll be,” said lead author Elizabeth Moore, of the School of Nursing at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Newborns are very often separated from their mothers at birth. The new analysis of existing data looked at whether placing naked babies on their mother’s bare chest improved breastfeeding and whether it also affected the overall health of the baby.

The researchers looked through medical literature and found 46 randomized controlled trials to include in their review. The trials included 3,850 women and their newborns from 21 countries. All babies were healthy and most were born at term.

“We compared those trials to usual care, and usual care was very different depending on the trial,” said Moore. Trials from the 1970s may have separated mothers from their babies for hours. In more modern trials, babies might be swaddled in a blanket before being handed to the mother.

Compared to babies and mothers who received usual care, those who received skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth were about 24 percent more likely to still be breastfeeding one to four months later. This is significant as other studies continue to support that breastfeeding improves the ability of babies to fight off common colds and their overall health.

Infants who received skin-to-skin care were also 32 percent more likely to successfully breastfeed on their first try.

Evidence also suggested babies did better after receiving skin-to-skin contact after birth. They had higher scores on a measure evaluating their heart and lung function, had higher blood sugar levels and had a similar body temperature to their swaddled counterparts.

Skin-to-skin contact should begin as soon as possible and last for at least 60 minutes, she said. The hour will give babies time to recover from the birthing experience, find the mother’s nipple and latch on.

“It’s not something you can do in just 15 minutes,” she said.

Moore said more research is needed on skin-to-skin contact after cesarean births and among babies born near full term.

Speaking to your healthcare professional about this subject and others associated with pregnancy and childbirth is a good decision. The Women’s Center makes it simple for women to gain access to pertinent information with our online “Ask the Nurse” form. With seven offices throughout Central Florida and a very large array of health care providers, you can rest assured that your questions and concerns can be addressed, helping you receive the highest quality of women’s health care possible! The Women’s Center of Orlando, delivering joy, convenience and peace of mind!

You Might Also Enjoy...

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month — Are You in the Know?

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in women. Early detection gives you the best chance to beat the disease, so taking a proactive approach to your health is important. Learn your risk for breast cancer and how screening helps.

The Many Benefits of Good Prenatal Care

Have you had your first prenatal appointment yet? If not, now is the time. Prenatal care is an essential element of a healthy pregnancy, healthy labor, and ultimately, a healthy newborn! Learn more about the benefits of good prenatal care.

Handling Hot Flashes in the Heat

Menopausal hot flashes aren’t pleasant on even the coldest of winter days. So when the sun’s out and temperatures rise in the summer, hot flashes can quickly become unbearable. Learn our best tips for handling summertime hot flashes.

Heavy Periods: Could It Be Endometriosis?

Heavy periods are common, but only a fraction of women living with abnormally heavy bleeding seek treatment. Endometriosis is a leading cause of heavy menstrual bleeding, but know this: It can be treated to relieve pain and reduce bleeding.

The Best Treatment for Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian cysts are common, but they usually don’t have symptoms, so you could have one and not know it. When a cyst does cause pain, it’s time to seek treatment. From watchful waiting to hormonal birth control or surgery, get the right treatment here.

Dense Breasts and Breast Cancer Risk

Many women who get mammograms find out that they have high levels of dense breast tissue. But what does it mean to have dense breasts, and how does it impact your risk of developing breast cancer or the time it takes to detect the disease?