'Skin-on-skin' cuddle straight after a C-section puts both mother and baby at ...

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A 'skin-on-skin’ cuddle straight after a C-section birth could put both mother and baby at risk, anaesthetists have warned. 

Doctors have reported two cases of newborns suckling or grabbing at electrical patches stuck to the mother's skin to monitor her heart rate. 

This means the mother and newborn's heart activity can merge on the monitors, causing alarm bells to sound. 

Medics may then mistake the alarm for a life-threatening problem in the mother, experts have warned.

There are fears it could even lead to wrongly administered drugs or jolting the mother with an electric shock. Although this isn't believed to have happened yet. 

In one case, the baby was found suckling an electrode on their mother's chest after mistaking it for a nipple.

But experts working in the UK have cast doubt over the concerns and said the embraces are usually safe and are an important moment during the birth.

Cases of a newborn suckling or grabbing a piece of equipment called electrodes (pictured) used to monitor the mother's vitals have been reported

Cases of a newborn suckling or grabbing a piece of equipment called electrodes (pictured) used to monitor the mother's vitals have been reported

A cuddle straight after birth is an important part of mother and baby bonding because it helps the baby to feel safe and learn to breastfeed. 

But after a C-section, the mother's chest has electrodes attached to the skin.

The electrodes sense cardiac activity, producing a visual graph on a screen called a electrocardiogram (ECG).

Medics can continuously monitor heart rate during the procedure. They also check blood pressure, breathing and blood oxygen level.

But there is potential for the baby's own heart activity to be picked up, if they come into contact with the electrode, causing haywire results. 

Writing in the European Journal of Anaesthesiology, doctors described two recent cases. 

The first case involved a 37-year-old first-time mother having a C-section at La Zarzuela University Hospital, Madrid.

Dr Nicolas Brogly, who works at the hospital and co-authored the paper, said: 'The newborn was found suckling the right electrode of the ECG.' 

In the Netherlands, a baby grabbed a wire (pictured) measuring his mother's heart rate

In the Netherlands, a baby grabbed a wire (pictured) measuring his mother's heart rate

It was not explained how this may be a danger to the baby, but it is presumed unsafe for a newborn to put electrical equipment in their mouth. 

Doctors placed the electrodes elsewhere on the woman's skin and the abnormal rhythm – a combination of her own and her baby's heartbeats – vanished.  

The second case was recorded by Dr Leonie Slegers and her team at the St Antonius Hospital in Woerden, the Netherlands.  

A 36-year-old woman had just given birth to her second child, a healthy baby boy, who was then placed on her chest.

Soon afterwards, her heart rate became abnormally fast – known as tachycardia – which can trigger heart failure or a stroke.

The patient still had the baby on her chest, while doctors checked her other vital signs.

They were normal, and the ECG appeared to contain two different ECG rhythms in one recording.

Dr Slegers said: 'A quick inspection of the baby showed that he had taken the right ECG lead in his hand.

In one case study an ECG (pictured) gave doctors a scare because it was picking up both the mother's and baby's heartbeat and gave the impression of a dangerous condition

In one case study an ECG (pictured) gave doctors a scare because it was picking up

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