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HCP Paper on Effect of Labor Medications in Early Human Development

By May 31, 2019 No Comments

Previously published online, the May 2019 print issue of Early Human Development includes the results of a study conducted by HCP faculty Dr. Karin Cadwell and Dr. Kajsa Brimdyr and their colleagues intended to determine the effects of common intrapartum medications on the instinctive behavior of healthy newborns during the first hour after birth.

The prospective cohort study included analysis of video recordings of newly-born term infants during the first hour after birth while in skin-to-skin contact with the mother compared with the labor medications the mothers received. Certain drugs were found to have an impact on each of the Widström’s 9 Stages of Newborn Behavior.

While research shows that healthy newborns placed in skin-to-skin contact on their mothers’ chests immediately after birth will demonstrate instinctive behaviors and, if undisturbed, crawl towards their mothers’ breasts and begin to suckle within the first 1–2 h after birth, this study revealed a strong inverse correlation between intrapartum exposure to fentanyl and synOT and the instinctive normal behavior of an infant, including finding the breast, self-attaching and suckling, as measured by the time in each Stage.

Since stimulation of mother’s nipples by baby’s hand movements and sucking leads to spikes in oxytocin and prolactin, which directly stimulate milk production, babies’ exposure to both fentanyl and synOT results in less optimal breastfeeding initiation and duration.

Read the fully study here.