Who is holding the baby? Women's experiences of contact with their baby immediately after birth: An Australian population-based survey

Mary Anne Biro, Jane Susanne Yelland, Stephanie Janne Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Seeing and holding their baby immediately after the birth is the pinnacle of the childbearing process for parents. Few studies have examined women's experiences of seeing and holding their baby immediately after birth. We investigated women's experiences of initial contact with their newborns using data from an Australian population-based survey. Methods: All women who gave birth in September/October in 2007 in two Australian states were mailed questionnaires six months following the birth. Women were asked three questions about early newborn contact including where their baby was held in the first hour after birth and whether they were able to hold their baby as soon and for as long as they liked. We examined the association between model of maternity care and early newborn contact stratified by admission to SCN/NICU. Results: The majority (92%) of women whose babies remained with them reported holding their babies as soon and for as long as they liked in the first hour after birth. However, for women whose babies were admitted to SCN/NICU only a minority (47%) reported this. Women in public models of care (with the exception of primary midwifery care) whose babies remained with them were less likely to report holding their babies as soon and for as long as they liked compared to women in private care. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that there is potential to increase the proportion of mothers and fathers who get to hold their baby immediately after the birth by modifying birth suite and operating room practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-322
Number of pages6
JournalWomen and Birth
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Birth
  • Contact
  • Mother-infant
  • Newborn
  • Women's experiences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery

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