Collections > Master's Papers > Gillings School of Public Health > A literature review of the physiological effects of early postpartum skin-to-skin contact and the risk of sudden unexpected postnatal collapse for healthy, term neonates

Early postpartum skin to skin contact (SSC) is a resurging practice that has been proposed to facilitate breastfeeding, induce analgesia, and improve thermoregulation in healthy infants. However, the increase in SSC practices in developed countries has coincided with an increase in published case reports of sudden unexpected postnatal collapse (SUPC), and this places into question the safety of the practice for many parents, nurses, physicians, and hospitals. The objective of this literature review is to examine studies published between 2006-2016 on the physiological effects of SSC for healthy, term neonates as well as the epidemiology, risk factors, and pathophysiology of SUPC. Additionally, it will discuss literature-based prevention measures for SUPC to increase the safety of SSC without losing potential benefits.