Birthing Without Fear

Dr. Nils Bergman: Skin to Skin Contact

Skin to Skin contactOur son´s first hours outside the womb were spent on my chest surrounded by the loving presence of his dad. He was calm, awake, locking eyes with us, which left us in awe. Now, 3 years later, he still thrives on physical closeness, and my motherly instinct is to provide him with that communion. I feel that skin to skin contact  forges healthy early development and science validates that this is the case.

In the video below, M.D. and researcher Nils Bergman discusses the effect of skin to skin contact between mothers and babies.

Raylene Phillips MD, IBCLC, FAAP states that “The manner in which a new baby is welcomed into the world during the first hours after birth may have short- and long-term consequences. There is good evidence that normal, term newborns who are placed skin to skin with their mothers immediately after birth make the transition from fetal to newborn life with greater respiratory, temperature, and glucose stability and significantly less crying indicating decreased stress.”

The following is part of an abstract written by Dr. Phillips on Uninterrupted Skin-to-Skin Contact Immediately After Birth:

“Mothers who hold their newborns skin to skin after birth have increased maternal behaviors, show more confidence in caring for their babies and breastfeed for longer durations. Being skin to skin with mother protects the newborn from the well-documented negative effects of separation, supports optimal brain development and facilitates attachment, which promotes the infant’s self-regulation over time. Normal babies are born with the instinctive skill and motivation to breastfeed and are able to find the breast and self-attach without assistance when skin-to-skin. When the newborn is placed skin to skin with the mother, nine observable behaviors can be seen that lead to the first breastfeeding, usually within the first hour after birth. Hospital protocols can be modified to support uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth for both vaginal and cesarean births. The first hour of life outside the womb is a special time when a baby meets his or her parents for the first time and a family is formed. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and should not be interrupted unless the baby or mother is unstable and requires medical resuscitation. It is a “sacred” time that should be honored, cherished and protected whenever possible.”

To read the full publication, go here:

By Jana Allmrodt