Golden Hour is a term used in photography, labor and delivery wards, and in war … and it refers to that small window of opportunity when the action taken, or not taken, directly affects the outcome of an event. Acting quickly with practiced and proven expertise, defined by the circumstances of photography, birth before 32 weeks gestation, or a traumatic injury, significantly increases the probability of a positive outcome. Leaving this small window of opportunity, usually about an hour, to fall by the wayside leads to a less than optimal outcome.
For Your Baby Too
Today, as research documents its benefits, it is becoming the norm rather than the exception to capture the Golden Hour following uncomplicated deliveries of healthy newborns. More and more the expectation is that the first hour of your baby’s life will be spent in close contact with you, one of the most important practices of this golden hour concept, so that you and your newborn can enjoy these benefits too. If needed, medical interventions to save or improve your newborn’s life of course are always performed first, and your baby returned to you as quickly as possible.
If you would like to have this Golden Hour with your newborn you can start the communication process by talking with your OB/GYN. When you check in to the hospital you can talk with the medical personnel who will be taking care of you. Expressing your wishes verbally, using only positive words to describe what you imagine to be the best possible way for this magical hour to unfold, will bring you more success than writing a list of everything you “don’t want” to happen in a Birth Plan. This suggestion has everything to do with Mother Nature, and nothing to do with hospital personnel. Acknowledging and trusting medical expertise, and talking positively about your desire to have this Golden Hour with your baby, will work wonders to help you realize this dream.
A lot happens in the first hour of life as your newborn engages in a play of interactions with the new environment. After the initial crying that brings air into the formerly fluid-filled lungs, your baby typically will transition into a calm alert state, a state of being that is proven to be the perfect state for learning to occur. Being skin to skin with you during this quite alert time adds to the benefits your baby receives. The next post will go more deeply into these benefits, but just know that taking advantage of this Golden Hour, if possible, will provide positive, short and long term, benefits for both of you.