Skin to Skin
Skin-to-skin contact is an intervention describing an activity whereby a baby is positioned next to the mother, without any barrier between them, commencing shortly after birth.
Skin-to-skin contact is an intervention describing an activity whereby a baby is positioned next to the mother, without any barrier between them, commencing shortly after birth. Skin-to-skin contact has many benefits for mothers, babies and families, and is currently recommended as part of the Baby Friendly Initiative and in recognised national quality standards (UNICEF BFI; National institute of Health and Care Excellence [NICE] 2017). Early and ongoing skin contact helps the baby to transition to extra-uterine life, initiate breastfeeding, and sustain close and loving relationships (Chaparro and Lutter 2009; Mason et al 2013).
The immediate benefits of skin contact for the baby at birth include:
- Improved cardio-respiratory stability
- Enhanced temperature control
- Better maintenance of blood glucose
- Reduced stress (Moore et al 2016; Saloojee 2008)
Ongoing benefits for the baby, mother and family include:
- Increased interaction, responsiveness and attachment
- Prolonged breastfeeding
Module aims and objectives
In this module we aim to improve your knowledge of the benefits of skin contact and increase the facilitation of skin-to-skin contact at birth and beyond. The evidence, values and practice recommendations to support skin contact are outlined.
By the end of this e-learning module you will be able to:
- Understand the basic physiology of skin-to-skin contact and how it helps to promote close and loving relationships and breastfeeding initiation
- Consider the importance of offering and supporting skin-to-skin contact for all mothers and babies
- Reflect on tips for practice, including ways to support colleagues to implement pathways of care for skin-to-skin contact in all birth settings
Skin-to-skin, physiology, birth environment, oxytocin, childbirth, relationships, breastfeeding:
References and further reading