You’re going to give birth any day now, the doctors tell you your baby is healthy, and you might even know the gender of your baby, too. It’s a wonderful time in your life, and you may have waited your entire life to have a child.
But, bad news came just the other day and you’re fraught – you’re not going to be able to have a natural birth.
You know the surgery is routine, and there’s low risk of dire consequences. But, you really wanted to have that skin-to-skin contact you’ve been hearing so much about. You’re going to give birth to your offspring, so you want to hold and touch your child.
Is skin-to-skin after c section even possible?
Table of Contents
Skin-to-Skin After Cesarean Births
Women want to experience skin-to-skin contact after birth, and hospitals won’t have an issue with this experience during a vaginal birth. The problem is that many hospitals still haven’t transitioned the practice to c section deliveries.
It’s a shame too because mothers and babies deserve this natural moment.
Demand Skin-to-Skin Contact
The only way that you’ll be able to have the skin-to-skin contact is to demand it. Hospitals will start to offer this experience after a c section when more and more mothers demand it. And, there are some things that need to be taken into consideration, too:
- Baby needs to be medically stable
- Mom needs to be medically stable
When skin-to-skin after c section is allowed, the baby will be cleaned off and handed to the mother. This will normally be 30 minutes or so after the birth occurs.
You can make the job of the nurses and doctors easier by:
- Discussing skin-to-skin before delivery
- Ask for skin-to-skin after giving birth
Nurses will need to do their routine checks of your vitals and the baby’s vitals after birth, so allow the nurse to work around the skin-to-skin contact whenever possible.
If you’re willing to work with the nurses and doctors, more often than not, they’ll do everything in their power to help accommodate your needs. There is a chance that the hospital may deny your request, and if you know this beforehand, you have the option of:
- Going into recovery
- Ask to see your baby
- Unwrap the baby
- Place the baby on top of the bread or on it
You have a right to hold your child, so even if they don’t want to take the time to allow for skin-to-skin, you can simply take matters into your own hands.
Baby safety always comes first, so there will always be a chance that no matter what you do, you won’t have the opportunity to hold your child. You’ll want to keep this in mind and make sure not to push the issue if the baby has complications.
When Is Skin-to-Skin Possible?
This is a great question. Many people will tell you that skin-to-skin needs to be immediate, and while this is a great experience, you can also have the experience very early which is 30 – 40 minute after birth, or you can have it any time in a 24 hour period, too.
Why Do Women Want Skin-to-Skin Contact?
Imagine you’ve spent 9 months with a person that has been solely responsible for your existence. Everything seems to be going well, you’re growing bigger and stronger by the minute, and then all of a sudden you’re thrust into this world without a single vote in the process.
Your comfort zone is gone.
And when you come out, doctors rip you away from the only person you’ve ever known and loved.
It is a terrifying experience. Babies go through this very experience every day, and the sad truth is that it makes initial life much harder for everyone involved.
When the baby is placed on the mother’s skin, it starts the next stage of the process which is feeding. Studies found that newborns placed on the skin for 30+ minutes will often find the nipple and begin feeding quickly.
If you’ve ever had a child that had trouble with feeding, chances are skin-to-skin didn’t exist.
Studies Backing Skin-to-Skin Claims
Researchers conducted a study on 34 random babies with controlled trials to see what skin-to-skin contact offered to the baby and mother. The results found that the babies that were assigned to this procedure were 2 times as likely to breastfeed exclusively after 3 – 6 months than babies that didn’t have skin-to-skin contact.
Interestingly, there were no side effects noted, and the baby benefited from:
- Blood sugar increase
- Stable heart rate and temperatures
- Less crying
- Effective suckling
In general, the baby was much happier and healthier following the skin-to-skin contact that is often overlooked.
Mothers also exhibited many health benefits, including:
- Less breast pain
- Lower anxiety 3 days after birth
Studies from earlier years also found that the baby’s temperature was at a much higher and healthier level after skin-to-skin. Another study didn’t indicate a change in temperature among baby groups, so the results seem to cancel each other out.
The studies done on the matter are small in size, so the results aren’t conclusive, but many mothers have found that their baby that does have this contact will have an easier time feeding and a better time overall in terms of health, happiness and body temperature.
The earlier skin contact is made, the better says some studies.
And one thing that all studies can agree on is that there are no negative side effects to this practice. If you want to have this amazing experience even if it doesn’t do anything health wise, there’s no reason skin-to-skin should be avoided.
C sections obviously have a greater impact on the situation compared to a vaginal birth, but barring any health issues, there should be no reason for a denial of skin-to-skin. You can discuss this with your doctors and nurses well in advance so that everyone is on the same page and will work together to get your skin-to-skin contact as quickly as possible.
It’s a group effort, and a lot of hospitals are now allowing it for c section babies, too.