The only dedicated Delivery Care Nurse team in Mobile and Baldwin counties consists of eight nurses, some specializing in lactation, devoted to increasing the bond between mother and baby through skin-to-skin contact.
By Brittany Otis
The Delivery Care Nurse (DCN) team at USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital has adopted a new way to care for mother and baby through skin-to-skin contact.
Skin-to-skin contact is the practice of laying the baby directly on the mother’s chest after birth. The practice is critical for the mother and baby to become closer, according to the DCN team. Unless there’s a serious problem with the mother or baby, a delivery care nurse is present right after delivery to initiate the practice.
The only dedicated Delivery Care Nurse team in Mobile and Baldwin counties consists of eight nurses, some specializing in lactation, devoted to increasing the bond between mother and baby.
“A team like this is special to Children’s & Women’s Hospital,” said Veronica Hudson, DNP, MSN, nurse manager for the Mother-Baby unit. “Our team provides exclusive care to the newborn while other healthcare staff focuses on the mother. The patient receives the best care for herself and her baby as well.”
The Delivery Care Nurse team was established in 2016 following a report about skin-to-skin contact from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the CDC, this practice has numerous health benefits for both the mother and newborn in addition to getting mother and baby to bond. This includes helping the mother breastfeed, if she chooses to, and maintaining infant body temperature. After adopting the practice, the DCN team saw the health benefits for their patients as well.
“Before establishing the DCN team, babies were often separated from their mothers for hours,” said Tammy Doherty, RN, lactation consultant. “We’ve since changed that and now receive better results for bonding and having the mother breastfeed long-term when they stay together,” she said.
Anna Bozeman, RN, said even in emergency cases, such as mothers who have to undergo emergency Cesarean section deliveries, the nurse team tries to get mother and baby back together. “If a baby is having issues and taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) right after birth, our nurses are there for support,” said Bozeman. “Once the baby is in stable condition, the newborn will be immediately taken back to their mother to initiate skin-to-skin contact. We work as a team to help minimize separation between mom and baby – that’s the goal at our hospital.”
Children’s & Women’s Hospital is part of USA Health, the only academic medical center on the upper Gulf Coast. The hospital is dedicated to caring for the unique needs of infants, children and women. It offers the region’s only high-risk obstetrics program, Level III neonatal intensive care unit and pediatric intensive care unit.