Skin to Skin Contact Immediately After Cesarean: Benefits to Mom and Baby

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Skin to Skin Contact Immediately after Cesarean: Benefits to Mom and Baby Stacie Nichols Chamberlain College of Nursing NR 451: Capstone Course Professor Swartzwelder August 6, 2012

Introduction:

Kangaroo care is defined as the way of “holding a preterm or full term infant so that there is skin-to-skin contact between the infant and the person holding it. The baby, wearing only a diaper, is held against the parent’s bare chest. Kangaroo Care (also Kangaroo Maternal [Mother] Care or Skin-to-Skin Contact and Breastfeeding) is a method used to restore the unique mother-infant bond following the sudden separation during the birth experience particularly in premature births”( www.med.umich.edu/nicu/pdf/C.3KangarooCare.pdf, 2010). Mothers are more likely to be able to practice skin to skin contact or kangaroo care following a vaginal delivery versus a cesarean which is seen as a medical procedure and not a delivery. Infants born to mothers via cesarean are usually whisked away to a nursery and are separated from their mother for as long as two hours. Infants most alert period is the first one to two hours after delivery and most babies born via cesarean spend this time in the nursery away from their mothers and once they are reunited with their mothers they are now in a deeper sleep state and tend to not breastfeed as well as babies that are born vaginally and allowed skin to skin contact immediately. This paper focuses on the need to change the way we take care of mothers and infants that give birth via cesarean and allow them the same bonding experience as mothers that give birth to their infants vaginally.

Step 1: Assess the Need for Change in Hospital Practice
How can nurses promote change in the OR with the OB physician, Pediatric team, Anesthesiologist, and nursing staff? The best way to promote change in a healthcare facility is to show how it will benefit the patients and improve the way they view the hospitals. Healthcare is becoming a competitive business and how a mother views her birth experiences will reflect on her survey score, which could potentially affect reimbursement amounts in the future if a hospital has a low score. Nurses should look into the benefits to both mother and baby in regards to their health when they receive time to do skin to skin contact in the OR. Evaluate what potential obstacles would hinder the surgical procedure by doing skin to skin contact and come up with potential solutions so that skin to skin contact in the OR does not interfere with the surgical procedure.

Step 2: Link the Problem, Interventions, and Outcomes
The problem with skin to skin contact in the OR is that for many years physicians have performed Cesarean sections in a certain way and therefore are difficult when it comes to changing the way they practice this procedure. Hospital procedures are written and followed for many years and physicians can be very reluctant to change the way they practice medicine. The first step is to show both the OB and Pediatric doctors the benefits to mother and baby if they are allowed to do skin to skin contact.

Some of the benefits to mother and baby are the following “stabilize the preterm infant’s heartbeat, temperature, and breathing. Preterm infants often have difficulty coordinating their breathing and heart rate. Researchers also have found that mothers who use kangaroo care often have more success with breastfeeding and improve their milk supply. Further, researchers have found that preterm infants who experience kangaroo care have longer...
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