Chapter

Birth and the First Postnatal Hour

Wenda R. Trevathan

in Evolution, Early Experience and Human Development

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199755059
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979479 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199755059.003.0013
Birth and the First Postnatal Hour

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Although there are many aspects of childbirth in the environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA) that would not be beneficial or desirable today (e.g., complications that result in high maternal and infant mortality and morbidity), there are a number of practices that, if adopted for contemporary low-risk births, may improve not only maternal and neonatal health but also parental satisfaction with the experience. This chapter discusses five practices that were likely used in the EEA and that may improve health of mothers and infants. The potentially beneficial practices include emotional support from a doula, delivery in the upright position, delayed clamping of the umbilical cord, little or no separation of mother and infant during the first postnatal hour, and initiation of breastfeeding soon after birth. Additionally, potential negative consequences of elected cesarean section are addressed.

Keywords: mother-infant bonding; cesarean section; doula; breastfeeding

Chapter.  8743 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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