Operating Room Skin-to-Skin (STS)

Today at the Childbirth Unit (CBU) nurses’ meeting, we talked about how we can get babies skin-to-skin (STS) with their mothers even earlier. Babies born by cesarean at Memorial remain in the operating and recovery rooms with their mothers and fathers.  Currently, the babies are wrapped up and held by dad while surgery is being completed.  Sometimes babies are placed skin-to-skin with dad. After moving from the operating table to a hospital bed and before being transported to the recovery room, babies are placed STS with their mothers where they remain throughout the 2-hour recovery period.

We know that STS contact helps babies regulate their body temperature, breathe better, have reduced stress hormone levels and better blood glucose control. So why then wouldn’t we place babies STS as soon as possible after a cesarean delivery?

STS in the OR is not a new policy. It is an option, but we believe this is a way for us to continue being leaders in best maternity care practices.  This is a learning process, and we would like to share what we learn.


  1. Communicate plan and reason for STS in the OR to parents, OB and anesthesia.
  2. Take baby to warmer for drying and quick assessment. Remember, it is our policy to delay routine procedures until after the first feeding. From our policy: Delay weighing, measuring, bathing, needle-sticks and eye prophylaxis until after the first feeding is completed. Weigh baby in a prone position to decrease startle response and stress.
  3. As in the birthing suites, place baby fully naked or with only a diaper on mother’s bare chest. Position her partner to support baby and help assure safety.
  4. Baby may self attach. However, breastfeeding initiation is not the priority. Early STS contact will enhance the baby’s ability to breastfeed in Recovery.
  5.  Ask parents if you may take a picture of them.
  6. Later in Recovery, explain to parents that we would like to share our STS in the OR experiences with other R.N.s and M.D.s. Ask if they would be willing to let us share their story and photo. No names will be included. If so, have the mother sign the “Consent to photography or interview” provided in the Recovery.
  7. Call Amy at x7511 and tell the story. Every detail counts!

This is like one of those movies where you just know there will be a sequel! While you wait, here are a couple YouTube videos we shared during the meeting. The first was intended to stretch our brains and help us think about the possibilities. The second is more representative of what we can begin to implement right away.


About blogtobabyfriendly

blogtobabyfriendly is written by Amy Murray, a Childbirth Unit nurse with a touch of earth muffin crunch. A childbirth educator and IBCLC, she's been a breastfeeding advocate all her adult life, believing that if our bodies make milk, it just makes good sense to feed it to our babies. blogtobabyfriendly is her hospital's journey to Baby-Friendly designation. Click to get email updates on new blog posts. Our desire is to learn, share, and learn more.
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3 Responses to Operating Room Skin-to-Skin (STS)

  1. Claire says:

    Natural/woman centered c/s =AWESOME

  2. Marie says:

    Natural/woman centered c/s seems like a dream come true! I did skin to skin in the recovery room during my first unscheduled c-section and waiting to hold her felt like an eternity. I couldn’t help laughing at their british accents!!

  3. Sarah says:

    STS in the OR is great! I am proud to work at a hospital that has such a great movement going on! We are on our way to designation! Great blog post Amy!

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