The benefits of skin-to-skin contact for mom… - Wyoming Medical Center

The benefits of skin-to-skin contact for mom and baby

By Jennifer Gallagher, R.N. Jan 6, 2016

A newborn baby at Wyoming Medical Center.

Pegnancy and childbirth are natural and healthy processes. For many expectant mothers, giving birth will be the first time they have been patients in the hospital or even had IVs. As you can imagine, this can be scary and intimidating.

Here on the Ruth R. Ellbogen Family, Mother and Baby Center, we strive to keep your birthing experience as natural and healthy as possible, regardless of whether you are experience a normal delivery or a Cesarean Section.

Because we are performing our own Cesarean Sections right here on the unit with Labor and Delivery staff, we are able to better accommodate your requests and needs. One way we do this is by providing skin-to-skin contact with your newborn baby as soon as possible. Often times, this can be done in the operating room shortly after the baby is born as long as baby is healthy and transitions well. Research shows that skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby should be initiated within one hour of birth when possible. If this goal cannot be met in the surgical suite, it will occur in our OB recovery room where one family member usually stays with you and your baby.

Skin-to-skin contact promotes an easier transition for baby from inside mom to the outside world. It stabilizes temperatures, blood sugars and breathing. Skin-to-skin improves breastfeeding success and longevity and creates an amazing bonding experience. In addition, successful breastfeeding also helps prevent mom from extensive bleeding.

Our goal is to keep your birthing experience family centered. You will be involved in decision making for your baby, taught to care for your baby and encouraged to spend as much time as possible getting to know your baby.

I have witnessed an assortment of birthing stories during my career, and I hope to experience many more. What I can tell you is that watching a new mother instinctively bring her sweet baby to her chest, offering her baby warmth, security and unconditional love is an overwhelming blessing to observe. It is an absolute miracle every time. I often wish I could turn back time and re-live my own childbirth experience again! I would bring that beautiful baby boy up to my skin, holding him naked and cherish every single moment. Even when he subconsciously reminds me that he isn’t wearing a diaper.

Jennifer Gallagher-Cockrum

Jennifer Gallagher is a registered nurse and clinical education coordinator for obstetrics. She has worked at Wyoming Medical Center for 24 years, starting in 1992 when she washed dishes in the cafeteria. She has worked as an OB nurse for 13 years. She has a bachelor’s of nursing degree from the University of Wyoming and is certified in Electronic Fetal Monitoring and Maternal-Newborn Nursing. She also teaches our Childbirth Education Classes. Email her at jcockrum@wyomingmedicalcenter.org.