You’ve finally reached the last lap of your pregnancy! You’ve been eagerly waiting for that moment (we’re sure) when you’ll eventually get to hold your baby in your arms. Finally, all your pregnancy-related research, precautions, and lifestyle changes will soon bear fruit. Yet, you’ll still be nervous when it comes to childbirth as it is quite unpredictable. Will it be a normal vaginal delivery? Or, what if a medical emergency led to a C-Section at the last moment? Will you and your baby not be able to reap the benefits of a skin-to-skin that happens in a normal delivery then? Well, if that is what concerns you about a C-section, then let us tell you to not worry. The truth is – skin to skin can be done even after a C-section. In fact, it is increasingly becoming popular nowadays. Let us tell you how.
Why Is No Skin To Skin Done After C-Section?
While medical personnel and nursing professionals do not have any issues giving skin to skin after a vaginal birth, they usually refrain from doing so after a C-section. One of the reasons being that it was widely believed that a baby born through C-section could suffer from a mild amount of hypothermia, which is why they are immediately rushed to neonatal intensive care after birth. However, some experimental studies have proved that newborns who were given skin to skin within an hour of delivery were not at any risk of hypothermia (1).
Another reason is that despite studies and research supporting skin to skin after C-section, many hospitals are yet to transition to it.
What Are The Benefits Of Skin To Skin After Delivery?
When a newborn is subjected to skin-to-skin contact with the mother soon after delivery, it provides a wide range of benefits to the little one. The most prominent benefit is that it promotes breastfeeding activity in the little one. The best way to ensure skin-to-skin contact is to make sure that the newborn is placed bare naked on the mother’s chest and not wrapped in a towel. These few minutes of contact makes the baby happy, regulates the baby’s body temperature, stabilizes the baby’s breathing and heart rate, and elevates the little one’s blood sugar to a healthy level. Apart from this, the immediate skin to skin helps the wet skin of the baby to colonize the bacteria from the mother’s body. This does not happen after the baby is put in the incubator, where the skin dries up and colonizes a different set of bacteria along with the mother’s (2). And, let us not forget about the immediate bonding that it creates between the mother and the baby, which is equally important for breastfeeding. Therefore, skin to skin after a vaginal delivery or even a C-section is of vital importance for the baby as well as the mother.
How To Ensure Skin To Skin After C-Section?
Like mentioned earlier, in a majority of the cases, skin to skin after C-section is generally not done either due to major complications or simple lack of awareness. Here’s what you can do:
- If your pregnancy has been relatively complication-free, then the best way to get skin to skin is to just ask for it
- Discuss these options with your Obstetrician beforehand
- Communicate your need for skin to skin to the nursing professionals and doctors in the labor room at the time of delivery
More often than not, the hospital staff will oblige to your request provided both you and the baby are in stable condition after birth.
In case of a complication, you can still give skin to skin to your baby after the little one is handed over to you. Once you are back in recovery, unwrap your baby and place him/her on your bare chest for a few minutes. This should also suffice.
Remember, that nothing is too less for your baby when it comes to your care and love. So, don’t feel low if you do not get a chance at some immediate skin to skin. You can always do so once you both are back home together. After all, the mother-baby bond is here to stay forever!