Nurses Help Mother-Baby Bonding During C-Sections Easier

Nurses help mother-baby bonding during C-sections easier


There are thousands of births in the United States every year, and one-third of those births are cesarean sections. Because a cesarean is a sterile procedure, the mother is not able to bond with the child immediately, as in a vaginal birth. 

But three nurses decided to change this and allow mothers to experience skin-to-skin contact soon after birth, while still in the operating room. Labor and delivery nurses, Kimberly Jarrelle, Deborah Burbic and Jess Niccoli, designed a drape with a hole, which allows the physician to pass the baby to the mother, then reseal the flap. 

Burbic explained, “we were doing skin-to-skin on the vaginal side and seeing how empowering that was to mothers,”  But this was not permitted for C-section mothers because of the sterile environment. In the past they were told, “No, this is a sterile environment. We can’t do that in the operating room,” Burbic said.

The surgical drape previously used for C-sections did not allow the mother to witness the birth with her own eyes, or experience the immense pleasure from holding her baby for the first time.  These mothers often wait 30 minutes to a hour to hold their child. 

The infant is taken away, cleaned and placed in a warmer. This new drape opens to allow the for the passing of the baby;  then it's closed to maintain the sterile field while the mother's incision is closed. 

The three registered nurses worked on the project for three years, before they decided on a drape that would suit the needs of the mother and the surgeon. “We used (duct) tape and sewing machines. We took them over to Kim’s house and worked on her dining room table,” Niccoli said. “We went through about 50 different prototypes,” Jarrelle said. “We’d do it, and then we’d send it back to the company we contracted with.”

“The ratings are one to four, one being the least. Our drape is four, the strongest on all the areas that are flat. Then the part that goes up between anesthesia has a rating of a three because you don’t need quite as heavy a barrier,” Niccoli said.

The company is called Clever Medical, and they have contracted with three hospitals that will be testing the product. 

Surgical nurses are responsible for introducing many new products that have helped make life in the operating room much easier for patients, doctors and nurses alike.  These labor and delivery nurses should be commended for a job well done. They have enabled mothers to bond with their infants sooner.  

There have been numerous studies conducted to investigate the importance of skin to skin contact immediately following birth.  Most of the studies show that this is vitally important for the bonding of mother and child.  This is great news for all mothers that are facing Cesarean section. Well done nurses!

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