The Heart of Touch Web Series: Episode 2

Skin-to-Skin and Cesarean Birth
with AJ McCann, MD

Cesarean section remains one of the top barriers to accessing skin-to-skin care. C-section can delay the first breastfeeding and decrease rates of exclusive breastfeeding at discharge & 4 months of age. Additionally, babies can be at risk for low blood sugar and hypothermia in the first hours post-delivery. Could immediate skin-to-skin initiated in the operating room reduce some of the risks associated with surgical birth?

Many hospitals have changed routine care to facilitate immediate skin-to-skin. Yet, early separation of mothers and infants is still very common after a Cesarean. As recent as 2013,  75% of U.S. mothers who gave birth by Cesarean were separated from their babies for at least the first hour (Declercq et al. 2013).