The authors report no conflict of interest or relevant financial relationships.
Effect of Mother/Infant Skin-to-Skin Contact on Postpartum Depressive Symptoms and Maternal Physiological Stress
Article first published online: 26 APR 2012
© 2012 AWHONN, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing
Volume 41, Issue 3, pages 369–382, May/June 2012
How to Cite
Bigelow, A., Power, M., MacLellan-Peters, J., Alex, M. and McDonald, C. (2012), Effect of Mother/Infant Skin-to-Skin Contact on Postpartum Depressive Symptoms and Maternal Physiological Stress. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 41: 369–382. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2012.01350.x
- Issue published online: 17 MAY 2012
- Article first published online: 26 APR 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: JAN 2012
- Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation
Vol. 41, Issue 4, 580, Article first published online: 17 JUL 2012
- mother/infant skin-to-skin contact;
- postpartum depressive symptoms;
- maternal stress;
- salivary cortisol
To investigate the effect of mother/infant skin-to-skin contact (SSC) on mothers’ postpartum depressive symptoms during the first 3 postpartum months and their physiological stress during the first postpartum month.
Data were collected during home visits.
Mothers in the SSC group (n = 30) provided approximately 5 hours per day of SSC with their infants in the infants’ first week and then more than 2 hours per day until the infants were age one month. Mothers in the control group (n = 60) provided little or no SSC. All mothers had full-term infants.
Mothers completed self-report depression scales when infants were 1 week, 1 month, 2 months, and 3 months of age.
Compared to mothers in the control group, mothers in the SSC group had lower scores on the depression scales when the infants were one week and marginally lower scores when the infants were one month; when the infants were age 2 and 3 months, there were no differences between groups in the mothers’ depression scores. Over their infants’ first month, mothers in the SSC group had a greater reduction in their salivary cortisol than mothers in the control group.
Mother/infant SSC benefits mothers by reducing their depressive symptoms and physiological stress in the postpartum period.