Labor & Delivery Care
Whenever the mother wishes, family and friends are encouraged to be present during the entire hospital stay, including during labor and delivery. Women have a variety of options available to help them with the childbirth experience. Natural techniques available at the Family Birth Place include walking during labor, hydrotherapy, birth balls, squatting bars, breathing techniques, aromatherapy, massage and music. Epidural and medication options are also available, in addition to a mix of complimentary therapies.
Mothers are the preferred caregivers for their infants, but Family-Centered Maternity Care does not expect you to care for your infant alone. When Mother-Baby Care is implemented, the same nurse cares for the mother and baby couplet as a single family unit, integrating the whole family into the care.
To begin building relationships, mothers are encouraged to keep their babies in their rooms at all times. With your baby in your room, you will be there to see all of the baby’s “first’s” and will come to understand your new baby’s personality and needs. Teachable moments include everything from the baby’s first bath to the baby’s first check-up and what to do when the baby cries.
Skin-to-skin means your baby is placed belly-down, directly on your chest, right after he/she is born. Your nurse will dry her off, cover her with a warm blanket and a hat and settle her onto your bare chest beneath your hospital gown. The first few hours after birth are a very important time for you and your baby to get to know each other, and snuggling skin-to-skin will help with that! Newborns crave skin-to-skin contact, but it’s sometimes overwhelming for new moms. It’s ok to start slowly as you get to know your baby.
If it is medically necessary for your baby to leave your side, your newborn will be brought back to you as soon as possible so you can unwrap her and start skin-to-skin time as quickly as possible.
A Smooth Transition
As soon as your baby is born, his/her temperature is very
unstable. You are your baby’s most perfect heat source and the best place to adjust to life in the outside world.
We recommend allowing your baby to stay skin-to-skin with you uninterrupted for at least 1-2 hours after birth. Compared with babies who are swaddled or kept in a crib, skin-to-skin babies stay warmer, cry less and maintain more stable vital signs, such as heart rate, respiratory rate, blood sugar and blood pressure.
The first hour is also the best time to try to breastfeed your newborn for the first time. Dads, grandparents and loved ones will have plenty of time to snuggle and hug baby after this very important time with mom.
After skin-to-skin time is complete and the baby’s temperature and vital signs are stable, the nurse will get your baby bundled so that she can begin visiting with the rest of the family.
Snuggling gives you and your baby the best start for
breastfeeding. Research has proven that babies placed skin-to-skin immediately after birth breastfeed better and longer.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all
breastfeeding babies spend time skin-to-skin right after birth.
Keeping babies close, especially during the first days after delivery, makes it easier to know when and how often to feed them.
Learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding.
Skin-to-skin cuddling will help you bond with your baby.
Research has shown that moms who practice skin-to-skin care
at delivery and after touch and cuddle their babies more and are better able to respond to their baby’s cues and needs. Even a year later, skin-to-skin moms snuggled more with their babies.
Skin-to-Skin Beyond the Delivery Room
Keep cuddling skin-to-skin even after you leave the delivery room, during your stay on post-partum and after you leave the hospital. Your baby will stay warm and comfortable on your chest, and the benefits for bonding, soothing and breastfeeding continue well after birth.
Dads can snuggle, too! Babies also benefit from skin-to-skin time with dad. So if mom needs some time to rest, Daddy can take over! Fathers and mothers who hold babies skin-to-skin help keep them calm and cozy.
Be sure to check out the Great Expectations at Sacred Heart booklet!