The Sacred Hour – or as it is sometimes called, the Golden Hour – is the first hour following your baby’s birth where skin-to-skin care is essential. This special time and touch helps you and your baby bond as well as gives you both a health boost.
What is skin-to-skin care during the Sacred Hour?
Skin-to-skin care during the Sacred Hour is just as it sounds: you holding your baby closely with your skin touching during the first hour after birth. During this time your doctor or nurse will help you comfortably position and hold your unwrapped baby on your bare chest. Your baby will be facing in toward you and his or her back will be covered with a blanket. Then all you need to do is relax and enjoy your first moments cuddling with your newborn.
After a vaginal birth, mothers can chose to have their baby placed on their chest right away so they can help dry their baby while the umbilical cord is cut. They can also choose to begin skin-to-skin care after their baby is dried.
Mothers who deliver via cesarean section can also have skin-to-skin care in the operating room. After a brief assessment, if both the mother and baby are doing well, the baby will be placed on the mother’s chest with the assistance of a nurse.
Fathers can also provide skin-to-skin care during the Sacred Hour.
What are the benefits?
Skin-to-skin care during the Sacred Hour helps your baby adjust to life outside of the womb. This simple action provides many health benefits to both you and your baby. Skin-to-skin care during this time:
- Gives you and your baby time to bond as mother and child
- Calms and soothes your baby
- Helps your baby maintain a healthy body temperature better than an incubator
- Helps regulate your baby’s heart rate, blood sugar, and breathing
- Improves your baby’s sleep
- Increases your level of relaxation hormone
- Improves your milk supply
- Allows time for your baby to naturally give you cues when ready to feed and latch onto your breast
- Improves you and your baby’s success at breastfeeding
- Helps you breastfeed longer
How can your family and friends be supportive?
The first hour after birth is a special time when the new baby and parents become a family. Your family and friends can honor and support this by:
- Giving mother and baby uninterrupted skin-to-skin time until after the first breastfeeding
- Keeping the room quiet and calm so baby can hear mostly the parent's voices
Skin-to-skin care at Intermountain
Intermountain doctors and nurses are committed to ensuring every newborn has the opportunity for skin-to-skin care during the Sacred Hour. Prior to birth, we provide education to staff, patients, and the community so they understand the process and benefits.
Our doctors and nurses promote skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible after birth. Once your baby comes, they will delay weighing your infant and giving any non-emergent medications so that you will have time for immediate skin-to-skin care. They will create a quiet, calm, and unhurried environment in the delivery room so that you and your baby can comfortably enjoy your first moments together.
Talk to your care provider to learn more about skin-to-skin care during the Sacred Hour. Together you can make sure this important bonding time is part of your birth experience.