Skin to Skin Contact (SSC)
The WHO and UNICEF recommend that the mother and newborn should have skin-to-skin contact (SSC) immediately after birth, including after a caesarean section if the woman is alert and responsive (Baby Friendly Health Initiative, 2012, World Health Organization and UNICEF, 2009). Skin-to-skin contact can be defined as placing a naked infant onto the bare chest of the mother (or father) (Crenshaw et al., 2012,Finigan and Davies, 2004, Velandia et al., 2010, Velandia et al., 2012, Hung and Berg, 2011, Nolan and Lawrence, 2009, Gouchon et al., 2010).
To provide insight into how to implement SSC in theatre.
Immediate SSC can be provided safely in the operating theatre with the collaboration and education of staff, mothers and partners. Consent needs to be confirmed and the mother needs to be prepared before her CS. Once the baby is born and determined to be responding normally and if the mother is alert and responsive, the baby is moved immediately to the mothers’ chest and dried. The midwife then makes sure the baby is secure and monitors them. A literature review also provided some evidence, however limited, demonstrating an increase in maternal and newborn emotional wellbeing, an increase in parent/newborn communication, reduction in maternal pain/anxiety, physiological stability for the mother and newborn and improved breastfeeding outcomes (Crenshaw et al., 2012, Finigan and Davies, 2004, Velandia et al., 2010, Velandia et al., 2012, Hung and Berg, 2011, Nolan and Lawrence, 2009, Gouchon et al., 2010, Stevens et al., 2014).
If maternity services are not able to provide immediate SSC following a caesarean section, many women and their newborns may miss out on the potential benefits conferred by SSC (Li et al., 2012).