HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Baltimore, Maryland, USA or Virtually from your home or work.

8th Edition of Nursing World Conference

October 17-19, 2024 | Baltimore, USA

October 17 -19, 2024 | Baltimore, USA
NWC 2018

Debra L Wagner

Speaker at Nursing Conference - Debra L Wagner
University of North Florida, United States
Title : Effects of skin-to-skin contact in the or on maternal medication use


According to the Center for Disease Control 32.7 % of live births in the United States were delivered via cesarean section in 2014. Typically, the baby is taken out of the operating room (OR) to the nursery to allow the obstetrician/surgeon time to close the uterus and incision, resulting in anxiety for the mother. She may receive Fentanyl (for analgesia) and Versed (for anxiolysis), medications which place her in a light sleep, easing pain and anxiety, but also functions as an amnesic. A retrospective study, case-control design was conducted to explore whether skin-to-skin contact (SSC) between a woman and newborn in the OR following cesarean birth affects the administration of post-operative medications for maternal analgesia or anxiety.

The study showed women who did not experience SSC in the OR were 2.29 times more likely to use analgesic/anxiolytic medication compared with women who experienced SSC in the OR. The difference was statistically significant at the 0.10 level (p=0.074). Pain medication administered after women were discharged from the recovery room showed both groups of women were medicated for pain similarly during their postpartum stay (p=0.8889). Additional data showed women who experienced SSC in the OR were 9.40 times more likely to breastfeed and 3.25 times more likely to exclusively breastfeed compared with women who did not experience SSC in the OR.

By facilitating SSC in the OR, the need for both benzodiazepines and opiates potentially decreases, allowing the mother to be awake, see her baby, and remember the birth of her child. Since sedative medications are passed through breastmilk, breastfeeding mothers are able to shield their newborn babies from this small exposure to them in the immediate first hour of life. With bundled maternity costs for delivery the potential for medication cost savings for the hospital also exists.

Audience Take Away:

  • Examine the benefits of facilitating skin-to-skin contact for cesarean born babies in relation to decreased opioid/benzodiazepine use, increased incidence of breastfeeding, and lowered hospital costs.
  • Use the empirical evidence to support expanding the practice of skin-to-skin contact in the OR within a wider selection of hospitals
  • Conduct future research to expand upon these results with a broader demographic/population


Dr. Debra Wagner is a practicing certified nurse midwife and associate professor at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida.