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No more excuses: video trains hospital staff in the whys and hows of skin-to-skin after birth

[Editor’s note: This is a guest post from former Lamaze International President, Jeannette Crenshaw. When Jeannette told me about the video she reviews in this post, I knew I wanted to highlight it as part of the Sixth Healthy Birth Blog Carnival.

I recall  one birth I attended as a midwife, I had to negotiate with the nurse about how long we would “let” the mother and baby remain in skin-to-skin contact after birth. Her reason for wanting to disrupt skin-to-skin time? “I have to put the baby in the computer.” Her job (completing birth documentation) was interfering with her job (safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the mother and baby).

Hospital routines are the #1 reason mothers and babies are denied skin-to-skin contact after birth. Changing this  harmful practice is possible, but it takes a commitment to quality and systems improvement.  Now that the Joint Commission is measuring hospital perinatal quality by the proportion of babies exclusively breastfed at discharge,  hospitals need concrete tools to retrain staff and change delivery room culture. Hospitals: it seems like this video may be $39.00 well spent. – AMR]

Skin to Skin in the First Hour After Birth:
Practical Advice for Staff After Vaginal and Cesarean Birth (DVD)

Executive producer and videographer: Kajsa Brimdyr, PhD, CLC; executive and content producers: Kristin Svensson, RN, PhD (cand.) and Ann-Marie Widström, PhD, RN, MTD.
$39.00 at Healthy Children

scan0004A new DVD from Healthy Children Project should be mandatory viewing for every labor and delivery nurse and birth attendant. It will help maternity health professionals in hospital settings to implement the best practice of uninterrupted skin to skin care beginning immediately after birth until after the first feeding. This is a “how to” DVD, with the practical advice health professionals need to provide clinical care to mothers and babies who are skin to skin immediately after a vaginal or cesarean birth.

The 40 minute DVD, set to original music by J. Hagenbuckle, has 3 content sections, and a section with a complete list of references. The first section describes the short and long term benefits of skin to skin care for newborns and mothers. It shows the 9 stages healthy newborns experience while skin to skin during the first hour after birth—from the birth cry (stage 1), through suckling (stage 8), and sleep (stage 9). The narrator emphasizes the individual way each baby moves through the 9 stages.

The second section shows how to provide care for mothers and babies while they are skin to skin, after a vaginal, and the third, after a cesarean birth. Both sections begin with health professionals teaching pregnant women about immediate skin to skin care prenatally, and on admission to the hospital—which “sets the stage” for immediate skin to skin contact as a normal part of the birth process. After the vaginal birth, the clinician immediately places the baby on mom’s abdomen. After the cesarean birth, the nurse immediately places the baby on mom’s chest, above the sterile field and drapes, as the doctor continues the surgery and the anesthesiologist monitors the mother. The baby’s father is at mom’s side in both segments. Nurses remove birth fluids as they dry the baby—delicately addressing the common concern that babies should first be “cleaned up” at a warmer. Nurses remove wet blankets, place the baby skin to skin, and cover mom and her baby with warmed blankets. Both sections show competent nurses assessing the newborn, providing care, and supporting the mother and baby as the baby moves through the 9 stages of skin to skin.

I strongly recommend this DVD (only $39.00) for staff in any maternity setting. Childbirth educators will find the first section of the DVD a great addition to their prenatal childbirth and breastfeeding classes (although Breastfeeding—A Baby’s Choice, 2007, may be a better choice). Staff who are working to help their hospitals achieve Baby-Friendly designation will find this DVD useful for training. The narrator uses, for the most part, simple and non-clinical language and the video of mothers and babies will quickly engage the viewer. The DVD’s producers met their objective: “to assist staff in providing behaviorally appropriate, individualized, baby adapted care for the full term newborn using the best practice of skin to skin contact in the first hour after birth”.

Reference:

Healthy Children Project. (Producer). (2007). Breastfeeding—A Baby’s Choice [DVD]. Available from http://www.healthychildren.cc/

Jeannette Crenshaw, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, IBCLC, LCCE, FACCE is a member of the graduate faculty at the University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing and a family educator at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. She represents Lamaze on the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) and coordinates the Lamaze Breastfeeding Support Specialist Program. She has published articles and presented nationally and internationally on a variety of topics, including evidence based maternity care.

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  1. avatar
    Kelly Boyd
    June 14th, 2010 at 10:54 | #1

    I am a L+D nurse, and I have seen first hand the benefits of early skin-to skin contact. The only barrier that I have identified is the physicians conducting the newborn exam on the OHIO. But I have never heard of skin-to-skin after a c-section!! That would be great!!! Now…… if only we could change the surgeon’s minds.

  2. June 14th, 2010 at 18:07 | #2

    The hospital where I teach is doing just that. It is the new policy we are adopting. In-services have been going on now during the past month. I am very happy to see this. Overlook hospital in New Jersey.

  3. June 14th, 2010 at 22:21 | #3

    That warms my heart. I was born at Overlook Hospital in 1975, when I’m quite sure the standard of care was not to keep moms and babies together.

  1. June 19th, 2010 at 14:21 | #1