The golden hour after birth- You have just given birth to your baby and so much has changed. You are no longer pregnant and your beautiful baby has arrived. Now comes the famous “golden hour” which many experts and parents alike think is a very important time between you and your baby. Let’s dive into the golden hour, why it is important and how it effects us biologically and psychologically for you and your baby.

What is the golden hour after birth

We hear this saying a lot but what does it really entail? The “golden hour” after birth refers to the first hour of a baby’s life, immediately following delivery. It is an essential and critical time for both the newborn and the mother. In this short time, a lot if going on! During this period, several important events take place:

  1. Bonding: The golden hour provides an opportunity for the baby and parents to bond. Skin-to-skin contact is often encouraged, where the baby is placed directly on the mother’s chest. This physical closeness promotes the release of hormones like oxytocin, which helps strengthen the emotional connection between parent and child.
  2. Breastfeeding initiation: The early moments after birth are considered an optimal time to initiate breastfeeding, should the mother choose to breastfeed. Babies are often alert and have a strong instinct to suckle during this time, making it easier to establish breastfeeding successfully.
  3. Stabilization: The baby’s vital signs, such as heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature, are closely monitored during the golden hour. Staying close to the mother’s body helps the baby regulate their temperature and encourages stability.
  4. Immune system benefits: Skin-to-skin contact during the golden hour may provide the baby with exposure to beneficial bacteria from the mother’s skin, which can support the development of the baby’s immune system.
  5. Reduced stress: The calming environment and closeness to the mother can help reduce stress for the baby, as they transition from the womb to the outside world.

Medical Staff and The Golden Hour

Medical professionals and birth attendants often prioritize and encourage these practices during the golden hour because of the potential long-term benefits for both the newborn and the mother. However, it’s essential to recognize that each birth experience is unique, and there may be variations in how the golden hour is managed based on specific circumstances and medical needs.

READ: The Pregnancy Documentaries After Birth

Why is the golden hour after birth important

The golden hour after birth is considered important for several crucial reasons, as it can have significant short-term and long-term benefits for both the baby and the mother.

Here are the the important things that happen during the golden hour after birth


The skin-to-skin contact and physical closeness during the golden hour promote bonding between the baby and the parents. This early emotional connection can lay the foundation for a strong and secure parent-child relationship.

Breastfeeding initiation:

The golden hour is an optimal time to initiate breastfeeding. Babies are often more alert and have a strong instinct to suckle during this period. Early breastfeeding initiation can lead to better breastfeeding success and provide the baby with essential nutrients and immune-boosting properties found in colostrum, the early breast milk.


Monitoring the baby’s vital signs during the golden hour helps identify and address any potential issues promptly. Staying close to the mother’s body helps regulate the baby’s temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate.

Transition to the outside world:

After spending nine months in the womb, the baby experiences a significant change in their environment after birth. The calming and familiar presence of the mother during the golden hour helps ease this transition and reduce stress for the newborn.

Immune system benefits:

Skin-to-skin contact and early breastfeeding can introduce the baby to beneficial bacteria from the mother’s skin and breast milk. This exposure may help strengthen the baby’s immune system and provide some protection against infections.

Psychological well-being:

For the mother, the golden hour can be a time of empowerment and fulfillment, as she gets to experience the joy of meeting her baby for the first time and actively participating in the initial care.

Hormonal regulation:

The close contact between the baby and the mother triggers the release of hormones like oxytocin, which helps with uterine contractions, reduces bleeding, and enhances the mother’s feelings of love and attachment to her child.

Long-term benefits:

Studies suggest that positive experiences during the golden hour may have long-term effects on the baby’s cognitive and emotional development, as well as on the mother’s mental health.

It’s important to note that while the golden hour is highly beneficial, sometimes medical circumstances or complications may require immediate medical attention and intervention. In such cases, the medical team will prioritize the well-being of both the baby and the mother and take appropriate actions as needed.

The 9 Stages of the Golden Hour

The concept of the “Nine Stages of the Golden Hour” is often referred to in the context of emergency medical care, particularly in trauma situations. It describes the critical actions and interventions that need to occur within the first hour following a severe injury or medical emergency to increase the chances of survival and positive outcomes for the patient. Each stage focuses on specific actions that medical professionals take during this crucial time. The stages are as follows:

Scene Safety:

The first priority is to ensure the safety of the patient, the medical team, and anyone else in the vicinity. Assessing and addressing any immediate threats or hazards is essential before providing medical care.

Assessment and Triage:

The medical team quickly assesses the patient’s condition and determines the severity of injuries or illnesses. They prioritize patients based on the severity of their condition, known as triage, to allocate resources effectively.

Airway Management:

Ensuring a patent airway is crucial for the patient’s ability to breathe. Medical professionals assess and clear the airway if necessary, and may provide artificial ventilation if the patient is unable to breathe adequately on their own.

Breathing and Ventilation:

The medical team assesses the patient’s breathing and may provide interventions like supplemental oxygen or ventilation support to ensure adequate oxygenation.

Circulation and Hemorrhage Control:

Controlling bleeding is critical to prevent life-threatening blood loss. Medical professionals may use various techniques to control hemorrhage, such as applying direct pressure, using tourniquets, or administering intravenous fluids.

Disability Assessment:

This stage involves evaluating the patient’s neurological status to identify signs of brain injury or other neurological issues. It helps in determining the level of consciousness and neurological deficits.

Exposure and Environmental Control:

The patient is undressed to assess and treat any additional injuries or underlying medical conditions. Efforts are made to keep the patient warm to prevent hypothermia.

Fluid Resuscitation:

In cases of significant fluid loss, such as from trauma or shock, administering intravenous fluids helps stabilize the patient’s blood pressure and restore circulating volume.

Reassess and Communication:

Throughout the golden hour, the patient’s condition is continually reassessed to ensure that interventions are effective and to identify any changes or deterioration. Communication with the receiving hospital and other medical personnel is essential for a seamless transition of care.

It’s important to note that the “Nine Stages of the Golden Hour” is primarily used in the context of emergency medicine and trauma care, and the specific interventions and priorities may vary based on the patient’s condition and the available resources.

What is the golden minute after birth

The “golden minute” after birth refers to the first 60 seconds immediately following the delivery of a baby. It is a critical time for the newborn as essential physiological and medical events take place during this brief period. The term “golden minute” emphasizes the significance of acting promptly to ensure the well-being of the baby.

During the golden minute, the following important actions typically occur:

Apgar Assessment:

The Apgar score is a quick evaluation of the baby’s overall health and well-being at one minute and five minutes after birth. The Apgar score assesses the baby’s heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, reflex irritability, and skin color. This assessment helps medical professionals quickly identify any immediate medical concerns and determine if the baby requires immediate medical attention.

Airway Clearance:

Clearing the baby’s airway is crucial to establish proper breathing. The medical team may gently suction the baby’s mouth and nose if necessary to remove any mucus or amniotic fluid.

Warmth and Stimulation:

Keeping the baby warm and providing gentle stimulation can help with the baby’s transition to the outside world. Placing the baby skin-to-skin with the mother or using warm blankets helps maintain the baby’s body temperature and promotes bonding.

Umbilical Cord Clamping:

In recent years, there has been a shift in the timing of umbilical cord clamping. Delayed cord clamping, where the cord is clamped and cut after one to three minutes or when it stops pulsating, is becoming more common as it allows for the transfer of additional blood and vital nutrients from the placenta to the baby.

Initiation of Breastfeeding:

When possible, initiating breastfeeding during the golden minute is encouraged. The baby’s sucking reflex is often strongest during this time, making it an opportune moment to begin the breastfeeding journey.

Mother-Baby Bonding:

Encouraging skin-to-skin contact between the mother and baby fosters bonding and emotional attachment, which can have positive effects on both the baby and the mother.

The golden minute is a crucial period in the immediate postnatal care of the baby and helps establish a strong foundation for the baby’s health and well-being. Prompt and appropriate actions during this time can have significant benefits for the baby’s transition to life outside the womb and the establishment of a positive parent-child relationship. However, it’s important to note that each birth experience is unique, and medical circumstances may require variations in the care provided during this brief but crucial period.