Immediate contact between mothers and newborns is essential for the promotion of humanized childbirth and neonatal health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has established that babies who do not require special care should come into immediate contact, skin to skin, with their mothers during the first hour after birth, known as the “sacred hour”.
The “Sacred Hour” has been shown to bring numerous benefits to both mothers and newborns
At this momentous and unique time of meeting and recognition, skin-to-skin contact has positive short and long-term benefits.
The mother experiences an oxytocin rush, a hormone that aids in the establishment of breastfeeding, while the baby, especially receptive, seeks containment and protection similar to what they experienced in the womb.
Respecting and encouraging “sacred hour” is crucial for both mother and baby’s well-being as it has beneficial effects on them both.
The WHO recommends a humanized birth process that respects the mother and baby’s rhythm and needs by promoting a calm and welcoming environment during labor.
Skin-to-skin contact during “sacred hour” is a fundamental practice for promoting neonatal health and the emotional well-being of the mother. Encouraging humanized birth practices that respect both mothers’ rights and needs is essential to ensure a healthy and happy start in life.
The “Sacred Hour”: Benefits of Skin-to-Skin Contact Between Mother and Newborn After Birth
The importance of early skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety for both while strengthening the emotional bond.
This contact helps stabilize breathing, oxygenation and glucose levels in the newborn, decreases crying, increases alertness and contributes to physiological stability.
It also benefits the mother by reducing postpartum depression symptoms and boosting self-esteem. Respect for this special moment is essential for a healthy and happy start to life for both mother and baby.
The first moments after childbirth are invaluable for the baby and mother’s well-being.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that routine practices be postponed during the first 60-90 minutes to allow the mother and baby to have skin-to-skin contact. During this time, a surge of oxytocin is released which aids in the establishment of breastfeeding and strengthens the bond between them.
Recommendations for a Respectful and Humanized Birth
It is recommended not to bathe, measure, weigh, take the temperature or vaccinate the newborn in the first minutes if the birth did not have complications. It is suggested to postpone cutting the umbilical cord until it stops pulsating to take advantage of the blood flow that benefits the newborn’s immune system.
Humanized Childbirth aims to guarantee a safe and positive experience for all family members, focusing on the mother as the protagonist and decision-maker. Medical intervention is promoted only in situations that require it, treating childbirth as a natural process and respecting the individuality of each woman and baby.