This study analysed tactile stimulation during neonatal transition and resuscitation in preterm and term neonates born by Caesarean delivery. It examined the frequency, location and body region, duration and possible effects of stimulation on heart rate and arterial oxygen saturation (SpO2 ). Two independent investigators analysed video recordings of tactile stimulation on term and preterm neonates during neonatal transition from January 2012 to December 2014. They were recorded during a prospective observational study and randomised controlled trial at a tertiary centre, the Medical University of Graz, Austria. SpO2 and heart rate were continuously recorded. Data on the frequency, body region and duration of stimulation were collected. To investigate the possible effects of stimulation, SpO2 and heart rate were compared before and after stimulation. Term infants received tactile stimulation more than once, and it tended to start later, last longer and be applied in more locations than in preterm infants. Only preterm infants showed a significant increase in SpO2 after stimulation and heart rates did not show any significant changes in either group. Tactile stimulation was applied in different ways to preterm and term infants during neonatal transition and SpO2 showed a significant increase in preterm infants. ©2018 Foundation Acta Paediatrica. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.