Skin-to-skin contact becomes a right protected by law in Murcia | Society



From this Thursday, all babies born in the Region of MurciaIn any of their hospitals and regardless of whether they do it with a natural birth or cesarean section, they will have the right to remain at their mothers' side at all times, with an "immediate and uninterrupted" skin-to-skin contact, and also the right to a "health identity" with its own clinical history. This is stated in Article 16 of the Law of Rights and Duties of Users of the Health System of the Region of Murcia, which has been modified with the unanimous support of all the political groups that make up the Regional Assembly and in an "express" procedure. "Barely a month.

"That mothers and children do not separate after birth is a clear biological norm. All mammals fulfill it. The first hours are key for a newborn to adapt to their new way of life, "explains pediatrician Ricardo García de León, president of the association Hasta que tú quiere (HQTQ), which has promoted this legal reform. The scientific evidence of the benefits of this uninterrupted contact, he pointed out, are multiple, and not only in premature babies, where it has been shown that skin with skin is the best system to prevent nosocomial infections (those that occur during hospitalization). The mother-child contact also favors the stabilization of the baby's vital signs, body temperature and respiratory rate, while promoting breastfeeding.

"Mothers, instinctively, we already knew those advantages, hence the anxiety of separating from a baby. Recognizing that right by law is an advance, but an advance that starts from a setback. It means recovering something that had always been done throughout history and had been lost by entering the health protocols in the births and introducing intrusive measures. He backed down and this advance means recovering what was taken from us ", says Clara María García, representative of the support groups for breastfeeding in the Region of Murcia.

Despite everything, in Spain, being able to stay together from birth is conditioned to the hospital where the birth takes place has a skin-to-skin protocol or that the professional who attends the delivery is sensitive to that reality, says Garcia de Lion.

In fact, the Region of Murcia is the first autonomous community in Spain to explicitly include in a law this right of neonates that, in practice, was already being carried out in its main hospitals. Concepción Martínez, midwife and assistant director of the Nursing area of ​​the Virgen de la Arrixaca de Murcia maternal and child hospital, the hospital with the most births in the whole country (7,400 in 2017), has expressed her "emotion" by this law despite the fact that that the hospital has since 2012 with a protocol by which it is applied skin with skin to all normal deliveries and, from the last year, also to the scheduled cesareans.

However, he recognizes that there are professionals who "resist" to comply with it and who separate the baby to "clean, clothe or explore". All this, he says, unnecessary in a healthy child. "With this law we make sure that all professionals have to comply, that there is a clear protocol of what are the medical exceptions, of the real reasons, why a baby should be separated from its mother. More than a midwife, an assistant and a pediatrician will now question whether they really have grounds for that separation because, if it is not justified, the family could come to denounce, "he stressed.

The same is the opinion of Paloma Ortega, the head of the Gynecology Service of the Santa Lucía hospital in Cartagena, the second largest in the region. In the center, skin-to-skin contact is offered in vaginal deliveries, but it is only applied in 60% of caesarean sections. Giving legal status to this practice, he affirms, will not change much the day to day of the hospital, but trusts that it will expedite the procedures to enable more personnel and spaces that allow that practice in the total of births.

For the president of the Center of Studies in Biolaw, Ethics and Health of the University of Murcia, José Ramón Salcedo, going from "good clinical practice" to an obligation with a category of right is "a true turning point". In Spain, both the 2002 state law and the regional laws are "very generic", with mere allusions to the humanization of the treatment of neonates, but until now none had collected this type of rights in detail.

And although skin-to-skin contact may be the most striking a priori, Salcedo has insisted on highlighting the other novelty of the law: the obligation to create a clinical history for the baby. Until now, the most common practice was to include childbirth in the mother's history, "the baby was considered the product of childbirth, not a subject in itself, a reality independent of its mother."

From the Association of Users of Health of the Region of Murcia, Teresa Romá also affects this point: "At the moment of childbirth, factors that are key to the later development of the child, in his future health, are produced. But we found that health centers received a newborn without any previous medical information beyond what their mothers could count. " Opening the baby's medical history in the hospital, with the details of the birth, gives the baby the right to be a subject of his own, not an "appendix of his mother."

Once the law has been passed, for Romá the most difficult step is now: "Create a network that protects those rights, that defends their compliance and that envelops mothers at this crucial moment in their lives".

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