Study questions social media in birthing suites

Dr Jayne Krisjanous is researching how the internet and cellphones, particularly social media, affect mothers connecting with their newborn babies.

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The research is a multidisciplinary study involving Dr Jayne Krisjanous from the School of Marketing and International Business, Dr Robyn Maude from the University’s Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, and PhD student Marlini Bakri.

The study, which is still underway, is exploring the role Facebook, Instagram and Twitter plays in the 'golden hour' after birth. The first 60 minutes of a baby’s life are believed to provide important physical and psychological benefits for mother and baby.

Midwives across the country have noticed a growing number of women jumping online within that first hour.

Dr Krisjanous says there is an immediate wave of response to social media posts that seems to require some attention and responding to—and this is where it can become disruptive.

She also says newborns experience major physiological changes to circulation and in their neurological responses through exposure to light, sound, touch, cold and gravity, whilst women experience significant neuro-hormonal changes at birth. These changes mediate maternal-infant attachment, and social media in the suite can be an incursion.

The study is believed to be a world first, and has featured in the Sunday Star-Times and on TVNZ’s Breakfast show.

The research team will be presenting its work at the New Zealand College of Midwives Biennial National Conference in August.