In the United States Cesarean sections are performed on about a third of women giving birth, more than in any other country. The routine practice after surgery is to separate the mother and baby which interferes with skin-to-skin contact. Even after a C-section, there are many benefits to having mom hold her baby as early as possible.
After most typical Cesareans, there is only a short introduction between newborn and mom before they are separated for up to two or more hours. Baby is taken from the mom to be weighed, examined, measured and swaddled while the mother is taken to a recovery room. The baby is then typically taken to a warmer in a nursery while the mom is recovering from the effects of anesthesia.
The World Health Organization recommends ALL newborns have skin-to-skin care, regardless of the baby’s weight, gestational age, or birth setting. In a study comparing those recovering from a Cesarean who had skin-to-skin contact in the first hour after birth vs. those who did not have very early contact, average baby temperatures during the first hour after birth were significantly better in the skin-to-skin group.
Whether a C-Section is planned or not, it is important to speak with your birthing team about the benefits and practice of skin-to-skin care, long before baby’s actual delivery.