Exploring outcomes for women and neonates having skin-to-skin contact during caesarean birth: A quasi-experimental design and qualitative study

Published:January 26, 2022DOI:



      Women having an elective caesarean birth are often separated from their babies at birth with newborns transferred to a postnatal ward with the significant other.


      Two midwives were employed in 2019 to provide skin-to-skin contact for women who planned for elective caesarean births in a public hospital in metropolitan New South Wales with 4000 births per year and a 39% CB rate (57.8% of these births being elective).


      To compare the outcomes for women and their newborns on the effects of skin-to-skin contact at elective caesarean births within the first five minutes of birth to those who did not have skin-to-skin contact and to explore the lived experiences of women having skin-to-skin contact during their elective caesarean births.


      A quasi-experimental design study with a qualitative component of in-depth interviews. Quantitative analyses included independent t-tests, chi square and logistic regression. Thematic analysis was used for the qualitative data.


      In the quantitative results, there was a reduction in the time to the first feed (t(100) = −11.32, p < 0.001) (M = 38.9, SE = 20.7) (M = 124.9, SE = 50.1) and the first breastfeed (t(100) = −5.2, p < 0.001) (M = 53.2, SE = 82.5) (M = 277, SE = 295.8) with increased breastfeeding on discharge for women that had skin-to-skin contact at caesarean birth in comparison to those who did not receive skin-to-skin contact χ2(1) = 10.22, p < 0.05. In the qualitative results, women who had skin-to-skin contact during their caesarean birth had a positive experience with improved bonding and reported less anxiety and depression than their previous caesarean birth.


      This study provides evidence of the benefits of skin-to-skin contact during a caesarean birth.


      SSC (skin-to-skin contact), CB (caesarean birth), BF (breastfeed), NICU (neonatal intensive care), BGL (blood glucose level), AF (artificial (breast milk substitute/formula) feed), NH (neonatal hypoglycaemia)


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