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First "Skin-To-Skin" C-Section Performed At Doctors Hospital

September 28, 2012

Augusta, GA  When a mother sees her newborn for the first time it’s a moment that will be forever impressed in her memory.  Doctors Hospital creates that bonding experience as soon as possible after delivery and has implemented a national initiative on a local level to help promote instant bonding and breastfeeding between mother and baby.  Recently, these efforts were further realized when the first “skin-to-skin” caesarean section birth, or instant physical contact between the mother’s chest and baby after delivery, took place at the hospital.

“At Doctors Hospital “skin-to-skin” contact was already being accomplished with normal healthy vaginal deliveries, but Thursday we experienced our first “skin-to-skin” moment within five minutes of delivery for a caesarean delivery,” said Annette Repko, Director of Women’s Services at Doctors Hospital.  “It’s an exciting new option to give our families in an area where practice tends to stay rigid with policies and protocols instead of the patient’s wishes; especially if there are no complications.”

National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) has recruited 90 hospitals in the country to participate in a 22 month learning collaborative to make system-level changes in support of pursuing “Baby-Friendly” designation, “skin-to-skin” being one of the initiatives to encourage breastfeeding.  In June 2012 Doctors Hospital was chosen as one of the 90 hospitals to participate in the program.

“I did my research and knew that “skin-to-skin” is what I wanted to do in order to give my baby Esteban, the best start possible,” says Lorena Anaya Sanchez, mother of Esteban and first patient to experience a “skin-to-skin” C-section delivery at Doctors.  “It’s great that I was able to have my wish fulfilled and that my physician, nurses and staff were very supportive of my decision.”

“Skin-to-skin” means that the baby will be without clothing on the mother’s chest within five minutes of the birth.  This practice is based on intimate contact helping to facilitate maternal-infant behavior and interactions through sensory stimuli such as touch, warmth, and odor.  Moreover, skin to skin is considered a critical component for successful breastfeeding initiation. 

Historically, this method was necessary for the baby's survival.  In today’s culture more babies are born in hospitals, and as part of usual hospital care babies are often separated and swaddled or dressed before being given to their mothers. It has been suggested that hospital routines may significantly disrupt early mother and baby interactions, potentially robbing the mother of this precious and significant time and experience.

“This was a significant step in the right direction to help promote the bonding of mother and baby.  I fully support this method and was proud to be part of it,” says Dr. Cristian Thomae, OB/GYN.

Benefits of skin-to-skin contact:

-Promotes successful breastfeeding

-Promotes bonding

-Decreases maternal anxiety and maternal postpartum pain

-Encourages normal infant breathing

-Encourages normal heart rate patterns

-Infants cry less and appear less stressed

-Blood sugar and temperatures becomes more stabilized faster

*Interview Opportunities:

Sanchez Family - Mother and Father

Annette Repko - Director of Women’s Services at Doctors Hospital

Dr. Cristian Thomae – OB/GYN who performed the first skin-to-skin C Section

*Pictures of mom and baby performing skin-to-skin available upon request