There are numerous benefits of skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby. Baby's temperature, heart rate and breathing are more stable. Baby's skin can be colonized by the same bacteria as mom, thought to be important in the prevention of allergies. It can improve mom's milk production, may help baby to latch easier, and may calm a fussy baby.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada recommends skin-to-skin contact within one hour of delivery. This is usually possible after a c-section delivery, as long as mom and baby have not experienced an serious complications.

Research suggests that the sooner skin-to-skin contact is established after delivery, the better. The importance of maintaining the sterile surgical environment means that immediate skin-to-skin contact has not traditionally been possible. A new technique being studied at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is challenging these traditional beliefs. For more on this technique and study please refer to the article in the Toronto Star.

The availability of immediate skin-to-skin contact after c-section will vary from hospital to hospital. We encourage you to talk to your doctor about this technique, whether you are planning on a vaginal birth or c-section. We also recommend that you make your preferences known by including it in your birth plan.