Objective: To pilot test a standardized intraoperative and postoperative nursing intervention protocol to minimize maternal-infant separation after Cesarean.
Design: Randomized-controlled trial.
Setting: A 250-bed acute care community hospital labor/delivery/recovery/postpartum unit with approximately 150 repeat Cesarean deliveries per year.
Participants: Fifty women having a live, term, singleton, repeat Cesarean delivery and their newborns.
Intervention: A standardized nursing intervention protocol was designed and administered to minimize the amount of maternal-infant spatial, tactile, olfactory, auditory, and visual separation post-Cesarean.
Main outcome measures: Maternal outcomes included maternal pain, anxiety, and childbirth perception. Infant outcomes included respiratory rate, temperature, stress (infant salivary cortisol), and breastfeeding rates.
Results: Compared with the control group, the intervention group experienced earlier first physical contact and feedings and a longer interval until the infant first bath. Differences were found between treatment groups for infant temperatures and respiratory rates. Three infants in the control group experienced suboptimal temperatures. Infants in the intervention group had significantly higher salivary cortisol levels but were within the normal upper level range. No differences were noted in maternal pain, maternal anxiety, or perception of birth experience among treatment groups.
Conclusions: The pilot was valuable in examining intervention feasibility, appropriate outcome measures, and data collection strategies. The standardized intervention protocol shows promise for positively affecting maternal-infant outcomes after Cesarean delivery and merits further testing.