My previous posts, A Natural Third Stage? and Physiological Third Stage, without the "as long as" have discussed how some common procedures right after birth can be disruptive and sometimes even harmful, both for the mother and the baby.
Suctioning of newborns is very common in U.S. hospitals. MidwifeThinking has an excellent post on meconium that also details the risks of routine suctioning. I actually did not know that routine suctioning was not done in other developed countries, so I found it enlightening to hear the perspective of a UK-trained midwife practicing in Australia on this.
I have discussed the theory that immediate skin-to-skin after birth may reduce the risk of postpartum hemorrhage. It also influences the initiation of breastfeeding. This video (which I saw for the first time when Bonnie shared it on her blog, Birth-Joy) demonstrates the results of a study that found that not only was a baby's ability to self-initiate breastfeeding affected by pain medication used in labor, but also by whether or not the mother and baby were separated following the birth.
Given the benefits of skin-to-skin contact, I feel that hospitals really should work to make initial skin-to-skin between mother and baby possible. Here is an excerpt from what I hope will be a great tool for improving hospitals in this reguard. (Thanks to Rixa, who posted this after seeing a presentation on it at the Lamaze/ICEA MegaConference)