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Why is skin to skin so important?

The hours immediately after birth are so important for both you and your baby. It is a time for you to connect and deepen the connection with your baby.

The hour after birth is often called ‘The Golden Hour’. It is a time where you will be in a love bubble with your baby.

So what is skin to skin?

Skin to skin is where your newborn baby is placed directly on to your bare skin after birth. You can request immediate skin to skin contact with your baby if all is well – they do not need to be weighed right away. It is beneficial to put your preferences about skin to skin in your birth preferences and make sure your birth partner knows them too.

What are the benefits of skin to skin?

There are a variety of benefits, but I am going to outline a few of them here:

1. Having baby placed on your skin also eliminates large amounts of adrenaline being produced by your body in response to birth.

2. Prolactin will be produced which helps with bonding and breastfeeding if this is something that you are deciding to do. You may even feel your baby crawling up towards your breast ready for their first feed.

3. Placing baby on your chest especially will help them to regulate their body temperature. Your body temperature will naturally increase by a couple of degrees to aid with this and your chest area will be the warmest part of your body.

4. They will pick up good bacteria from your body which will help to protect them from infection and will help to regulate not only their heart rate but yours too.

5. Being close to you can also enhance their body’s ability to produce glucose from their stored energy supplies until they have their first feed.

Mum and baby enjoying skin to skin - hypnobirthing Wakefield

I often get lots of questions about skin to skin. I have included some of the previously asked questions below..

What if skin to skin isn't possible straight away?

In some circumstances, it may not be possible for you to have skin to skin contact with your baby straight away. This can be very distressing but rest assured that you can still feel the benefits of skin to skin even if that is hours, days or even weeks after birth. Premature babies may not be able to be held straight away but if your baby needs to spend time in a neonatal unit then they will be able to support you in something called 'kangaroo care' and your baby will still reap the benefits even if it's just for a short amount of time.

Can my partner have skin to skin contact too?

Definitely! It will help them to bond with your baby and build a secure bond too. They will learn the difference between each of your unique scents which will help both of you in settling your little one.

Is skin to skin suitable for every birth?

Skin to skin can happen during any type of birth. If for any reason you require a general anaesthetic then it may still be possible for you to have immediate skin to skin (speak to your healthcare provider) or your birth partner can have skin to skin with your baby.

If you have any specific question about skin to skin after birth and beyond then please send me a message.

Skin to skin is truly magical, enjoy!

Kelly xxx


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