Quality standard

Quality statement 7: Skin-to-skin contact

Quality statement

Women have skin-to-skin contact with their babies after the birth.

Rationale

Skin-to-skin contact with babies soon after birth has been shown to promote the initiation of breastfeeding and protect against the negative effects of mother–baby separation.

Quality measures

The following measures can be used to assess the quality of care or service provision specified in the statement. They are examples of how the statement can be measured and can be adapted and used flexibly.

Structure

Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that midwives and obstetricians encourage women to have skin-to-skin contact with their babies after the birth.

Data source: Local data collection.

Process

Proportion of women with a record of having skin-to-skin contact with their babies after the birth. (Note: It is important that this happens as soon as possible, but timescales should be determined locally, depending on the setting and whether the baby and mother are stable.)

Numerator – The number in the denominator where there is a record of the woman having skin-to-skin contact with the baby.

Denominator – The number of babies born.

Data source: Local data collection. The Maternity Services Data Set collects data on whether a mother had skin-to-skin contact with their baby within 1 hour of birth.

Outcome

Women's satisfaction with the support received to have skin-to-skin contact with their babies after the birth.

Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Service providers (for all 4 birth settings) have protocols in place for midwives and obstetricians to encourage women to have skin-to-skin contact with their babies as soon as possible after the birth.

Healthcare professionals (midwives and obstetricians) encourage women to have skin-to-skin contact with their babies as soon as possible after the birth.

Commissioners (clinical commissioning groups or integrated care systems) specify and check that service providers have protocols in place to ensure that women are encouraged to have skin-to-skin contact with their babies as soon as possible after the birth.

Women are encouraged to have skin-to-skin contact with their babies as soon as possible after the birth.

Source guidance

Intrapartum care for healthy women and babies. NICE guideline CG190 (2014, updated 2017), recommendation 1.15.6 (key priority for implementation)