Journal Article (Refereed)
The experience of women from three diverse population groups of immediate skin-to-skin contact with their newborn baby: selected outcomes relating to establishing breastfeeding
Finigan, V & Long, T 2012, 'The experience of women from three diverse population groups of immediate skin-to-skin contact with their newborn baby: selected outcomes relating to establishing breastfeeding', Evidence Based Midwifery, 10(4), pp.125-130.
Background. The physiological basis for the benefits of skin-to-skin (SSC) contact has been established for some time, although often the restrictive context of midwifery practice has been shown to force midwives to prioritise productivity and efficiency, which requires separation of mother and baby. This study evidences some women’s experience of this phenomenon.
Objectives. The study aim was to explore women’s experiences of immediate SSC with their baby, from the perception of women from three diverse ethnic groups: Bangladeshi, Pakistani and English.
Methods. A mixed-methods, participative study was undertaken with a purposive sample of 20 women drawn from three cultural groups: Bangladeshi, English and Pakistani. The women were recruited from the maternity unit of a single NHS trust in the last three months of pregnancy. Data were collected using digitally-recorded diaries, video-recording, photographs and semi-structured interviews. Research ethics approval was secured from the University of Salford and the local NHS committee. Analysis was undertaken using grounded theory techniques and novel use of concept-mapping to derive final outcomes.
Results. SSC was reported to be a positive experience during which instinctive behaviours of both mother and baby were discovered by families. Eye-to-eye contact and the effect of touch were highlighted as key aspects of the experience. It was recognised by both participants and the researcher that the recommended minimum period of SSC was too short. The UNICEF guideline was amended as a result of the findings of this and other studies (Ali and Lowry, 1981; Bystrova et al, 2009; Velandia et al, 2010), which indicated that the period of time that should be allowed for instinctive responses was more than UNICEF’s required thirty minutes.
Conclusion. The need to implement UNICEF and NICE recommendations for SSC contact in maternity units was reinforced by mothers from all three backgrounds. Commonly-held views on cultural barriers to SSC contact and breastfeeding were rejected. A more sensitive, individualised approach to choices in these areas is required by midwives and others.
Evidence Based Midwifery