Friday, April 30, 2010

Skin to Skin in the OR

In honour of the end of Cesarean Awareness Month, I am posting this picture of my brand new baby, less then ten minutes after his emergency cesarean delivery. As you can see we are skin to skin in the OR. I had no idea how special this was until I started learning more about cesareans. Now I know that, although it should be, having baby placed naked on it's mamas chest is not common practice. I was very lucky to have care providers that made this happen. When I see cesareans on TV ( yes sometimes I am foolish enough to watch "those" birth shows) I am saddened to see babies being excessively handled. Silly things are done, such as having foot prints taken, diapering, and tight swaddling, all before baby gets to meet their mom.

So fellow mothers and fathers, ask for your babies. Don't be afraid to speak up. If your baby is stable there is no reason not to meet them in their birth day suits. One of the most empowering moments of my crazy birth was having the chance to answer "No Diaper".

EDITED 2014 *I have received numerous requests to use this photo for educational purposes.  To this note I give permission for this image to be used for educational purposes in regards to promoting skin to skin contact in the OR during cesarean births.  The photo must be credited to also the use of this photo must be reported in the comment section of this post.  At any time I reserve the right to revoke this permission. THANK YOU for your interest in this subject.


  1. Beautiful picture! What an amazing moment that must have been.

    I wish I could have had that moment in the OR, and my c/s wasn't an emergency. Just protocol routine separation. Blah.

    Unless there is a situation after the c/s that makes it impossible, immediate skin to skin contact should be the norm after a c/s.

  2. I so agree.

    There are so many things done during c.s. that wouldn't be tolerated during a "normal" birth: Dad's being left in the hall for 20mins or not being allowed to attend at all for example...

    My c.s was done partially for fetal distress. His first apgar was 3, but his second was 9. Thankfully I was allowed to have him on me for the rest of the operation. He even started nursing in the OR. Then he stayed with me in the recovery room. I can't even imagine if daddy and baby were not with me during the recovery time. I would have been so sad.
    The hospital I was at is the only one in my region that has this protocol. All the rest the mama's are without their baby in recovery.

  3. This is beautiful! Thank you so much sharing!

  4. Thank you so much for posting this! It is exactly what I have been looking for, and today @midwifeamy just tweeted me to let me know about this post. I would like to email you about some ideas I have. Please email me through the contact page on my website at:

  5. What a lovely experience this looks like - and a great photograph too!

  6. I just posted this blog post on the Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy facebook fanpage so all fans can read your story and see this beautiful image. Like you, I would like it to be common practice to place naked baby on mama's chest in the OR after Cesarean birth when there is no need for medical intervention.

  7. Thanks for all the comments and reposts.
    Since my second baby's birth I have felt like there is a huge need to humanize cesareans.
    I wish I could say that in the moment I was appreciative of this skin to skin moment.
    Now I spend time looking back to reclaim the specialness and the beauty of his birth.

  8. I should have said that I was not appreciative of how lucky we were to be skin to skin, of course I was very happy to be holding my baby and watching him looking at me and working to latch on.
    Here is a link to a blog post with a video of cesarean skin to skin:

  9. i wish i had found this earlier, now 6 months post c/s. i did ask if i could have our son placed s-to-s, and was told no. then requested s-to-s on father, and my stable 36 weeker baby with apgars of 9 & 9 was instead whisked to the NICU and placed in an incubator. and then they wanted to give him formula right away b/c i was in the recovery room. fortunately my husband interfered, got me in a wheelchair and wheeled me to the NICU to nurse him. my experience at UCSF, a teaching hospital.

  10. I'm sorry to hear of your experience Mich.
    Way to persevere and get your babe to your breast.
    I keep seeing this issue, of earlier skin to skin talked about on birthing blogs.
    We will change this practice I'm sure, soon hopefully, but I've sure noticed how painfully slow change can be.
    Thank you for sharing your story.

  11. Wow, this is amazing. I am 20 weeks pregnant with my second and was planning on having a homebirth with a midwife. I, however, just found out that I have complete placenta previa and will most likely have to have a c-section. The hospitals in my area are VERY rigid in their policies and not at all skin-to-skin friendly, but I will be demanding this for my birth, even if I have to meet with and interview every worker on staff at the hospital before our big day. :) Wish me luck!

  12. Absolutely Good luck Tiffany! Have you seen the article "Natural Cesarean" by Dr. Frisk and others? It may help as it's written by medical professionals for medical professionals. You can find a link to it in labels list (left hand of this blog) under Natural Cesareans.
    Also sending you migrating placenta vibes. It does happen!
    All the best!

  13. Its really a nice and informative blog..
    I wanna some information about Tubal Reversal
    Mothers who had done Tubal Ligation to stop pregnancy can become a mother again after Tubal Reversal..

  14. I am a PhD student in nursing and my dissertation project involves the use of SSC in the OR during cesarean closure. Would you give me permission to use this photo in a presentation on the topic? So glad you got to have this birth experience. Thank you.

  15. Yes Anitra you may use this photo for your project. I would love to see your finished work, will it be available on-line?

  16. Hi, I wonder if you would give me permission to use your photo with expectant parents at an antenatal education breastfeeding session? I am hoping to have a variety of images of skin to skin to help empower parents and help them to be able to visualise the moments after birth with their baby. Best wishes xx

  17. Hi Mamanine,
    Yes you may use my photo for your antenatal education class.
    All the best.

  18. Hi, MJB. Thank you for sharing the photo! I certainly hope the finished work will be available online, but it will depend on the journal and their rules on public access. An online blog entry about the results (or something of the sort) is a nice idea, though! If it comes available, I'll post again. Take care.

  19. Hello MJB

    My name is Jeni Stevens. I have just commenced my PhD, where I am focusing on immediate skin-to-skin post caesarean section. I am also Registered Midwife and also a IBCLC - Lactation Consultant.

    Like many before me, I am finding it really hard to find a picture that I can use to illustrate this wonderful event. Would you give me permission to use your awesome photo for my powerpoint presentations?

    Thank you for your time,
    Jeni Stevens

  20. HI Jeni,

    Some how this comment slipped through with out a notification to me.

    Sorry for the delay in replying. Yes, you have permission to use this image for powerpoint presentations, that is if you still need it!

    Good luck with your studies.


  21. Hello MJB,
    Echoing the previous post, I am a nurse- midwifery student and doing a teaching project for providers on implementing skin to skin after cesarean and am wondering if I can use your image for a teaching project. How beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story!
    Kristy Rose

  22. Hi MJB
    Two nurses of our organization, Ms Bertrand and Fournier, present at a congress (coorporation of operating room nurses) september 25, 2014. The title of her presentation is : The benefits of "Skin to Skin" for the baby and mother during a cesarean (english translation). Futhermore, they are asked to repeat this presentation in the fall in our organization.

    They would like to use the picture of your blog for this 2 events.Do you agree to use it?
    Moreover, we will indicate the source and your permission. The PPT presentation will be available in pdf format (only) to the participants. Be sure that there will be no commercial use of the documents (not for sale).

    Hoping that you will respond positively to our request,
    Best regards.

    Nathalie Folch, Research consultant, montreal, Canada

  23. Hello all, please take note of the above edit added to give permission for educational use of this photo. Thanks so much.

  24. Hello MJB,
    What a beautiful photo! Thank you so much for sharing. I am a labor and delivery nurse at a Denver hospital. We are working on evidence based project to develop a protocol for skin-to-skin in the OR. I am so excited to add your image to our poster presentation. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for granting permission for use for educational purposes. Your photographer is amazing!


    1. I'm so happy to hear about your project, thank you so much for your commitment to bettering CS protocols.

  25. Hello, such a beautiful post and picture. I am a nurse in the Maternal Child division of a hospital in Northern Kentucky where I have been for 10 years. I have had 3 cesareans and for various reasons I was never able to hold any of my 4 children after birth so I have chosen this as my leadership project for my BSN. I am presenting a poster presentation and will use this beautiful image you provided. Thank you so much for sharing. This will not be reproduced digitally and proper acknowledgments will be given.

  26. Your beautiful photograph is now being used to promote skin to skin contact in the operating theatre at King's College Hospital NHS Trust. Thank you so much for enabling it to be used for this purpose, we hope many more mothers and babies will enjoy immediate skin to skin contact after caesarean as a result.

  27. This is a beautiful picture. Thank you for sharing it. I will be using this in a power point for my evidence-based practice class. Thanks agin