- When a woman gives birth and the birth is complicated , skin to skin contact can help her to re-centre on the beautiful relationship with her baby/babies. The way that midwives discuss skin to skin can and does have an impact on a woman’s decision – evidence shows that skin to skin contact at birth by ceasarean section is rising every day and I’d like to argue that it is not an ‘offer’ to be taken up or not – SKIN to SKIN is indeed a human right .
- Declining something means that the choice to “not accept” has been fully explained -I.E the effects of NOT having skin skin contact have been fully explained as much as the effects of HAVING skin to skin contact
- Asking a woman if she “wants” skin to skin is not an invite or a request – it is one of the rights of a newborn and a mother
Recently I met a woman who has post traumatic stress disorder relating to her first birth . She has inspired me to write this blog and I am so glad that I met her . Whilst she was receiving support for her birth trauma she requested to see her notes and was horrified to read “Offered SKIN to SKIN contact with newborn – same declined” this was several years ago and this woman tells me that she still remembers how she felt when she read those words for the first time “like a bad mother”
So what am I tying to say ?
- Be careful how you phrase a question – put your heart and soul and kindness into it
- Be gentle with women – if you say “if you hold your baby close I will help you & stay nearby – you will probably adore skin to skin contact and if you don’t dad / second mum could do it instead
- Please don’t use the word DECLINED
Informed consent means to discuss the pros and cons of all interventions and non interventions . Discussing the Atain Study by NHS Improvement with women who are giving birth to term infants and in particular by caesarean birth as these babies are over represented in the study is something that should be mentioned at EVERY contact – be that booking , antenatal appointment, antenatal education groups , attendance at hospital appointment , investigation appointment– by informing families about how SkinToSkin can reduce the chance of maternal infant separation we are sharing evidence and therefore impacting positively on relationships , long term mental health and breastfeeding .
Thank you for reading – Jenny ❤️