This year on July 15th we are celebrating Global Hug Your Kids Day. This holiday was started by Michelle Nichols in 2008, a decade after her son Mark tragically died of brain cancer at the age of 8 ½. It is meant to be an annual reminder of the importance of being affectionate with your kids. It is also a really good time to reflect on why skin-to-skin contact is so valuable, especially at birth!
Jeannette T. Crenshaw published a research article about various studies that prove that immediate skin-to-skin contact between baby and birth-person is a powerful thing. A few of the many benefits that she highlights are that:
“Compared with newborns who did not have skin-to-skin care, newborns who had skin-to-skin care cried less; had enhanced cardio-respiratory stability, including oxygen saturation levels; more stable blood glucose levels; and, enhanced thermal regulation.”
She concludes that the advantages of allowing for at least an hour of immediate skin-to-skin contact “all point to one of the best possible outcomes for mother and baby.”
Despite the clearly positive results of this practice, it has been found that in a hospital setting, skin-to-skin contact is frequently delayed because the staff are in a rush to begin with their regular procedures of cleaning, weighing and generally making assessments about the newborn. The time in between birth and skin-to-skin contact can be lengthened after a cesarean section. Having that time with the newborn can be requested for after a surgery, but it could cost you. BBC reported on a case in which a dad posted about the fact that the hospital charged them almost 40 dollars for skin-to-skin contact after their c-section surgery.
In a home-birth setting, the present team of people are much more focused on making sure that the birth-person’s wishes are met. Meaning, if they want to hold their baby as soon as possible, a midwife or doula will make sure they will get plenty of physical contact with baby, and would certainly never make an extra charge out of it. Midwifery Care NYC knows that measurements and stats should wait, so that the newborn and birth-person can peacefully experience what is often referred to as the “sacred hour”.
We would like to invite you to celebrate this important day with us. Send us pictures (email us at firstname.lastname@example.org) of you and your little ones embracing or a photo of your experience with skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth to post and share with everyone!
Written by Gabrielle Cappelletti, the intern.