Background: In recent years, there has been increasing recognition of the importance of early maternal-newborn contact for the health and well-being of the newborn and promotion of breastfeeding. However, little research has investigated the association between early maternal-newborn contact and the mother's birth experience. Methods: As part of a large-scale prospective, cohort study (the First Baby Study [FBS]), nearly 3000 women who delivered in Pennsylvania (2009-2011) reported how soon after delivery they first saw, held, and fed their newborns. Birth experience was measured via telephone interview 1 month postpartum, using the FBS Birth Experience Scale, a 16-item scale which addresses women's feelings about the delivery. General linear models were used to measure associations between time to first maternal-newborn contact and birth experience, controlling for relevant confounders, including maternal age, race/ethnicity, insurance coverage, delivery mode, gestational age, and pregnancy and delivery complications. Results: The sooner that new mothers first saw, held, and fed their newborns after delivery the more positive their childbirth experiences (all P-values < 0.001). Women who delivered by cesarean were less likely to see, hold and feed their newborns shortly after delivery than those who delivered vaginally (all P-values < 0.001), and reported less positive birth experiences (P < 0.001). However, if they first saw, held, and fed their newborns shortly after delivery, they reported more positive birth experiences than those who delivered vaginally (P = 0.010). Discussion: Early maternal-newborn contact after delivery was associated with positive birth experiences for new mothers, particularly those who delivered by cesarean.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Obstetrics and Gynecology