Nav: Home

Leading nursing journal finds mothers and babies benefit from skin-to-skin contact

November 11, 2014

Research during the past 30 years has found many benefits of skin-to-skin contact between mothers and newborns immediately after birth, particularly with aiding breastfeeding. However, in some hospitals, skin-to-skin contact following cesarean birth is not implemented, due to practices around the surgery. A recent Quality Improvement (QI) project demonstrated that women's birth experiences were improved by implementing skin-to-skin contact after cesarean surgery.

Women who give birth by cesarean often have more difficulty with breastfeeding, and skin-to-skin contact can make breastfeeding easier by relaxing the mother and baby, enhancing their bond, and helping the baby to latch better. Additional potential benefits of skin-to-skin contact for infants include less cold stress, longer periods of sleep, improved weight gain, better brain development, a reduction in "purposeless" activity, decreased crying, longer periods of alertness, and earlier hospital discharge.

In "A Quality Improvement Project Focused on Women's Perceptions of Skin-to-Skin Contact After Cesarean Birth", Judith Ann Moran-Peters, RN, NE-BC, BC, and her coauthors write about a QI project to implement skin-to-skin contact following cesarean birth and to measure women's perceptions in contrast with previous cesarean births without immediate skin-to-skin contact. This article appears in the August/September 2014 issue of Nursing for Women's Health, the clinical practice journal of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN).

"Nurses working in labor and birth settings should promote the practice of skin-to-skin contact between women and their newborn infants immediately following birth, given the significant health benefits associated with this experience," write the authors. "The moments right after birth represent the ideal timeframe for initiating breastfeeding, which generates important health benefits for the baby."

The authors advise that while there may be several challenges in implementing a protocol for skin-to-skin contact following a cesarean birth, a collaborative group of clinicians can identify and eliminate these barriers. One example is newborns not joining their mothers in a regular room until a significant amount of time has passed after birth. Additional barriers faced by women who have cesarean surgery include sterile draping from the surgery and mental fatigue from pain and sedation medications. The positive benefits of skin-to-skin contact for newborns and moms call for action to be taken by healthcare providers to minimize barriers and make skin-to-skin contact a priority.

"Nurses can help identify and eliminate barriers to skin-to-skin contact following cesarean surgery and raise this as a priority for improvement," said AWHONN's CEO, Lynn Erdman, MN, RN, FAAN. "The health benefits of skin-to-skin contact along with breastfeeding are well understood, so expanding this practice to cesarean births is a natural improvement for practice and patient health."
-end-
About Nursing for Women's Health

Nursing for Women's Health is a bimonthly refereed clinical practice journal of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. The journal circulates to more than 25,000 nurses who care for women and newborns and is available online at http://nwh.awhonn.org.

About AWHONN

The Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) is the foremost nursing authority that advances the health care of women and newborns through advocacy, research and the creation of high quality, evidence-based standards of care. AWHONN strives to represent the interests of 350,000 registered nurses working in women's health, obstetric and neonatal nursing nationwide.

AWHONN's 24,000 members worldwide are clinicians, educators and executives who serve as patient care advocates focusing on the needs of women and infants. A leader in professional development, AWHONN holds the distinction of receiving the Premier Program award by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for innovation and excellence in Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) three times.

Founded in 1969 as the Nurses Association of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the association became a separate nonprofit organization called the Association of Women's Health and Neonatal Nurses in 1993. Visit AWHONN on Facebook.

Wiley

Related Breastfeeding Articles:

Is it safe to vape while breastfeeding?
Findings from a new animal study suggest that maternal nicotine exposure during breastfeeding could be linked to problems with skull and face development.
Breastfeeding benefits during COVID-19
While the current coronavirus pandemic continues to affect all people, families will still give birth and bring new life into the world.
Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.
Coronavirus treatment and risk to breastfeeding women
Little data is available about the ability of antiviral drugs used to treat COVID-19, coronavirus, to enter breastmilk, let alone the potential adverse effects on breastfeeding infants.
Managing cannabis use in breastfeeding women
As more states legalize medicinal and recreational cannabis use and increasingly decriminalize cannabis, the risk to the growth and development of breastfeeding infants whose mothers use cannabis becomes a growing public health concern.
New recommendations released on bedsharing to promote breastfeeding
Leading experts representing The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) have released new evidence-based recommendations regarding the benefits and risks of bedsharing for mother-infant pairs who have initiated breastfeeding and are in home settings.
Apps help with breastfeeding -- at a cost
Mobile phone apps are increasingly being used to support breastfeeding decisions - sometimes at a cost, a Flinders University study indicates.
Breastfeeding disparities among us children by race/ethnicity
Overall rates of breastfeeding increased from 2009 to 2015 but they varied by race/ethnicity in this observational study that used national survey data for nearly 168,000 infants in the United States.
Initiating breastfeeding in vulnerable infants
The benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child are well-recognized, including for late preterm infants (LPI).
WHO study confirms breastfeeding protects against child obesity, however levels of breastfeeding across Europe are well off-target
New research from WHO published at this month's European Congress on Obesity shows that babies who are never or only partially breast fed have an increased risk of becoming obese as children compared to babies who are exclusively breastfed.
More Breastfeeding News and Breastfeeding Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Processing The Pandemic
Between the pandemic and America's reckoning with racism and police brutality, many of us are anxious, angry, and depressed. This hour, TED Fellow and writer Laurel Braitman helps us process it all.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#568 Poker Face Psychology
Anyone who's seen pop culture depictions of poker might think statistics and math is the only way to get ahead. But no, there's psychology too. Author Maria Konnikova took her Ph.D. in psychology to the poker table, and turned out to be good. So good, she went pro in poker, and learned all about her own biases on the way. We're talking about her new book "The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win".
Now Playing: Radiolab

Invisible Allies
As scientists have been scrambling to find new and better ways to treat covid-19, they've come across some unexpected allies. Invisible and primordial, these protectors have been with us all along. And they just might help us to better weather this viral storm. To kick things off, we travel through time from a homeless shelter to a military hospital, pondering the pandemic-fighting power of the sun. And then, we dive deep into the periodic table to look at how a simple element might actually be a microbe's biggest foe. This episode was reported by Simon Adler and Molly Webster, and produced by Annie McEwen and Pat Walters. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.