The Effect of Increasing Medical Interventions in Labour and Delivery on Skin-to-Skin and Breastfeeding in Newborns

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Shumila, Lindsey
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Background: Breastfeeding provides many benefits to infants. Placing newborns skin-to-skin following delivery is associated with increased breastfeeding success. Medical interventions like pain control (analgesia), labour induction/augmentation, and Caesarian section deliveries (C-sections), have been associated with reduced rates of breastfeeding. Objective: The goal of the current study was to determine how increasing medical intervention affect skin-to-skin and breastfeeding outcomes. Method: 147 medical charts of mother/baby pairs were audited at the Health Sciences Centre Women’s Hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They were divided into groups based on ascending degree of medical interventions and compared on skin-to-skin and breastfeeding outcomes using Chi-squared analysis. A secondary analysis was conducted to assess the association between skin-to-skin and breastfeeding. Results: Medical intervention was not significantly associated with breastfeeding outcomes. Delivery by C-section was significantly associated with decreased rates of skin-to-skin within five minutes and one hour of birth, compared with vaginal delivery (both p < 0.001). Among vaginal deliveries, analgesia and labour induction/augmentation were not found to be associated with skin-to-skin practices. Skin-to-skin within one hour was associated with increased breastfeeding during hospital stay (p < 0.05). Conclusion: C-sections predict decreased rates of skin-to-skin outcomes. However, so long as skin-to-skin is initiated within the first hour of life it can have benefit in increasing the likelihood of exclusive breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding, skin-to-skin, analgesia, C-section, labour, delivery