Sunday, November 6, 2011

Skin to Skin

As midwives we promote skin to skin contact with your newborn baby.  If all is well we birth your baby onto your abdomen from birth.  This helps your newborn baby to adapt to life outside the womb where the umbilical cord (iho) is sending a rich blood supply from the placenta (whenua) to your newborn baby.  It helps with temperature control, if you are feeling shivery from the hard work of labour your baby will warm you up and vice versa.

Secondly, it helps promote breastfeeding, your baby will go to the breast and even if he/she does not latch straight away the benefits of skin to skin is phenomenal, even for premature babies.  If you do not know already, I am a great proponent of the love hormone :-) oxytocin, this  is what I call the 'falling in love' hormone.  

There is an invisible feedback mechanism between you and your newborn baby that you cannot see but goes on nevertheless.  You are falling in love with your newborn baby that you cannot put him down, we call this 'bonding.'  Oxytocin triggers the let down reflex when your baby goes to the breast and at the same time, it contracts your uterus to help the placenta expel itself.  I will discuss lotus births in another article but for now, I will keep to skin to skin.  

There is also good evidence for delayed cord cutting at birth until the cord (iho) has stopped pulsating.  This is because your baby is still receiving a rich source of iron, oxygen and nutrients that help your baby to adapt to his/her new world.

Speak to you midwife about skin to skin contact.

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