Mum having skin to skin contact with baby following a ceaserean section


A Caesarean Section (C/S) is a procedure to deliver a baby by a surgical operation.

Your Obstetrician (surgeon who specialises in childbirth) has recommended that you have your baby delivered by caesarean section and will dis-cuss this with you throughout your pregnancy. However, it is your decision to go ahead with the operation or not and this is also a conversation to have with your Obstetrician.

The most common reasons why a Caesarean Section may be performed are:
  • Position of your baby
  • Your baby has slow growth or is in distress
  • There are concerns about your placenta
  • You have had a caesarean section before
  • You are having more than one baby
  • Your medical or previous birth history may indicate a caesarean section is preferable
  • You choose to have a caesarean section

Evidence suggests some women can feel detached from the birth of their baby when they have a caesarean section birth. East Lancashire Hospital NHS Trust would like to reduce the chance of this when a caesarean section is felt to be the safest way to give birth for mother and/or baby.

We aim to achieve this by adopting a practice of Skin to Skin Caesarean Births

A Skin to Skin Caesarean Birth facilitates immediate skin to skin between mother and baby as it is the surgeon who places the baby onto mum’s chest. Immediate, prolonged and recurrent Skin to Skin carries lots of benefits for both mum and baby.

To facilitate this, we leave the drapes down until the baby is born and the cord cut (usually after delayed clamping).

Removing the drapes allows you to see your baby being born and we will support your head to do so. Please don't be alarmed by this, your tummy will block your view of the surgery.

After birth we replace the drapes between you and the operation to maintain sterility.

Some women will not wish the drapes to be down, you can still have Skin to Skin. After the surgeon has cut the cord the midwife will place your baby on your chest.

Benefits of Skin to Skin include:
  • You both release OXYTOCIN during Skin to Skin; this hormone helps to relax and calm you both, initiate the bonding process, initiate the production of breast milk in mum and enhances brain development in your baby
  • Keeps your baby warm
  • Regulates your babies heart and breathing rate and oxygen levels.
  • Develops your baby’s immune system
  • Helps your baby to have the first and subsequent breastfeeds, if you wish

As you can see, Skin to Skin is beneficial to all mothers and babies. Midwives will support you to do this in theatre, recovery and on the ward for as long as you wish. However, we cannot continue Skin to Skin during transfer from theatre trolley to bed or vice versa, but it will be restarted each time if you wish.

Although we aim to facilitate Skin to Skin Caesarean birth, sometimes situations may arise where this is not possible. The most common rea-son is that baby needs some resuscitation after birth and will need to be taken to the resuscitaire in the corner of theatre. We will aim to bring baby back to you as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about this please refer to your Obstetrician or Midwife for further information