Pregnancy / Childbirth

The first hug, or skin-to-skin contact


The moment when a mother embraces her newborn baby for the first time is probably the most moving moment in the delivery room. The most important need for a newborn baby and woman right after delivery is close and continuous skin-to-skin contact. It is of great importance for the baby (provides warmth, security and food), as well as for a mother who, exhausted by giving birth, wants to hug her baby.

What is skin-to-skin contact?

The skin-to-skin contact involves placing a naked, newborn baby on the mother's stomach immediately after delivery (before cutting the umbilical cord). Removing and drying the baby takes place on the mother's stomach. Then the baby is covered with diapers. It is important not to wrap the newborn baby in a baby shower, only to cover it tightly (special attention should be paid to feet that slip out from under diapers and freeze). The mother's skin should touch the baby's skin.

Proper skin-to-skin contact should last for 2 hours and should not be interrupted during delivery of the placenta, stitching of the perineum and assessment of the toddler by. Apgar scale. All these activities are performed when the newborn is in the mother's arms.

What does first contact mean to a child?

First contact is of great importance for a newborn child. Mother's skin warms up the newborn baby. By putting the toddler on his mother's belly, we provide him best conditions for proper thermoregulation.

Dear mothers, do not be afraid that your child will get cold, because he is not wearing 2 layers of warm rompers. Drying and covering the toddler with diapers in the mother's arms will provide him with the right temperature. In addition, lying on mom allows regulation of heart rate and number of breaths. The newborn is located on the chest he adjusts his heart's work to his mother's heartbeat, the same happens with his breaths.

Studies show that babies who have had skin-to-skin contact show better thermoregulation, a lower average heart rate and lower respiratory rate compared to babies who were taken from their mother immediately after delivery. Another reason to use the first contact option is that a newborn baby located on the mother's abdomen colonizes with its mother's bacterial floraand not hospital flora. Such a natural and "healthy" bacterial flora protects the helpless toddler and prevents infections caused by hospital bacteria. Also the first female colostrum, which the child drinks for the first time on the mother's stomach, contains many protective substances, which strengthen the baby's body and constitute a natural anti-infective barrier. Colostrum also regulates the blood glucose level of the newborn.

What does first contact mean to a mother?

First of all, first contact helps the mother make proper contact with the newborn child. Which of us would not like to hug a baby after a long and tiring birth? The bond created between mother and child immediately after delivery is the strongest. In addition, the first skin-to-skin contact is conducive proper development of lactation. The baby's suckling reflex is the strongest in the first 2 hours of birth, so the first breast attachment should take place in the delivery room. Babies left on their mother's belly after some time "crawl" to the nipple, then lick the breast and try to grab it. This is an unconditional reflex that characterizes newborns. They smell up to the nipple and make the first attempt to suck the breasts. However, do not worry if your toddler has not started eating in the delivery room anymore. It is important that your child has breast contact at this time. He can lick and smell her, it is not always possible to encourage a child to suck immediately. Further attempts to attach to the breast should take place in the maternity ward.

What if I gave birth by Caesarean section?

Childbirth by Caesarean section is not a contraindication to carry out the first contact, however, it may affect its start time. Many women during an operation are anesthetized in such a way that they remain fully aware. In this case, the first contact can be already started in the postoperative room, right after the cesarean section. When cutting is done under general anesthesia, the World Health Organization recommends starting the first contact as early as possible, i.e. usually when when the newly baked mother is able to maintain conscious contact with the child. Usually the baby is put on mother's stomach within 2 hours of surgery. In some hospitals, it is possible that while the mother is still in the operating room or under the influence of anesthetics, the skin-to-skin contact is provided by the dad's baby (in this case, the dad takes off his shirt and holds the child in his arms, keeping the skin contact skin "). Despite the fact that the newborn baby meets the mother with a delay, it should be undressed so that the baby's skin touches the mother's skin. First contact after cesarean section can be difficult for mom, so ask your midwife for help. She will arrange the child so that it does not compress the postoperative wound.

Is twin delivery a contraindication to first contact?

If children do not require immediate medical intervention, twin delivery is not a contraindication for first contact. The first twin is placed on the mother's belly immediately after delivery, during the delivery of the second twin, the toddler is put on the father's bare chest, or temporarily to the newborn corner, under the heat radiator. When the second twin is born, we can freely hug and hold children for 2 hours.

What is the reality?

Only a few years ago, the possibility of maintaining contact with the child after delivery she was something new, unknown and not practiced. The new standard of perinatal care says that every woman has the right to maintain first contact, and this contact can only be interrupted if there is a threat to the life or health of the mother or newborn child, recorded in the medical records. In many branches in Poland this right is respected, but in some, the first contact is delayed, and lasts too short. However, it can be noticed that the reality at delivery is changing to be more friendly to the young mother and baby, and thus, women can more often benefit from the benefits of skin-to-skin contact.

Finally, I have a question for mothers: Did you have the opportunity to maintain skin-to-skin contact after giving birth?