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• To establish, maintain and support respirations.

• To provide warmth and prevent hypothermia.
• To ensure safety, prevent injury and infection.
• To identify actual or potential problems that may require immediate attention.

Establish respiration and maintain clear airway

The most important need for the newborn immediately after birth is a clear airway to
enable the newborn to breathe effectively since the placenta has ceased to function as an
organ of gas exchange. It is in the maintenance of adequate oxygen supply through
effective respiration that the survival of the newborn greatly depends.

Newborns are obligatory nose breathers. The reflex response to nasal obstruction, opening
the mouth to maintain airway, is not present in most newborns until 3 weeks after birth.

To establish and maintain respirations:

1. Wipe mouth and nose of secretions after delivery of the head.

2. Suction secretions from mouth and nose.

• Compress bulb syringe before inserting

• Suction mouth first, then, the nose
• Insert bulb syringe in one side of the mouth

3. A crying infant is a breathing infant. Stimulate the baby to cry if baby does not cry
spontaneously, or if the cry is weak.

• Do not slap the buttocks rather rub the soles of the feet.
• Stimulate to cry after secretions are removed.
• The normal infant cry is loud and husky. Observe for the following abnormal cry:
o High, pitched cry – indicates hypoglycemia, increased intracranial pressure.
o Weak cry – prematurity
o Hoarse cry – laryngeal stridor

4. Oral mucous may cause the newborn, to choke, cough or gag during the first 12 to 18
hours of life. Place the infant in a position that would promote drainage of secretions.

• Trendelenburg position – head lower than the body

• Side lying position – If trendelenburg position is contraindicated, place infant in
side lying position to permit drainage of mucus from the mouth. Place a small
pillow or rolled towel at the back to prevent newborn from rolling back to supine
5. Keep the nares patent. Remove mucus and other particles that may
be cause obstruction. Newborns are obligatory nose breathers until
they are about 3 weeks old.

Care of the Eyes

It is part of the routine care of the newborn to give prophylactic eye treatment against
gonorrhea conjunctivitis or opthalmia neonatorum. Neisseria gonorrhea, the causative
agent, may be passed on the fetus from the vaginal canal during delivery. This practice
was introduced by Crede, a German gynecologist in1884. Silver nitrate, erythromycin
and tetracycline ophthalmic ointments are the drugs used for this purpose.

Erythromycin or tetracycline Opthalmic Ointment:

1. These ointments are the ones commonly used now a days for eye prophylaxis
because they do not cause eye irritation and are more effective against Chlamydial
2. Apply over lower lids of both eyes, then, manipulate eyelids to spread medication
over the eyes.

Vitamin K or Aquamephyton

The newborn has a sterile intestine at birth, hence, the newborn does not possess the
intestinal bacteria that manufactures vitamin K which is necessary for the formation of
clotting factors. This makes the newborn prone to bleeding. As a preventive measure, .5
(preterm) and 1 mg (full term) Vitamin K or aquamephyton is injected IM in the
newborn’s vastus lateralis (lateral anterior thigh) muscle.

Care of the cord

The cord is clamped and cut approximately within 30 seconds after birth. In the delivery
room, the cord is clamped twice about 8 inches from the abdomen and cut in between.
When the newborn is brought to the nursery, another clamp is applied ½ to 1 inch from
the abdomen and the cord is cut at second time. The cord and the area around it are
cleansed with antiseptic solution. The manner of cord care depends on hospital protocol.
What is important is that the principles are followed. Cord clamp maybe removed after
48 hours when the cord has dried. The cord stump usually dries and fall within 7 to 10
days leaving a granulating area that heals on the next 7 to 10 days.

Instruction to the mother on cord care:

1. No tub bathing until cord falls off. Do not sponge bath to clean the baby. See to it
that cord does not get wet by water or urine.
2. Do not apply anything on the cord such as baby powder or antibiotic, except the
prescribed antiseptic solution which is 70% alcohol.
3. Avoid wetting the cord. Fold diaper below so that it does not
cover the cord and does not get wet when the diaper soaks with
4. Leave cord exposed to air. Do not apply dressing or abdominal
binder over it. The cord dries and separates more rapidly if it is
exposed to air.
5. If you notice the cord to be bleeding, apply firm pressure and check cord clamp if
loose and fasten.
6. Report any unusual signs and symptoms which indicates infection.
• Foul odor in the cord
• Presence of discharge
• Redness around the cord
• The cord remains wet and does not fall off within 7 to 10 days
• Newborn fever


The APGAR Scoring System was developed by Dr. Virginia Apgar as a method of
assessing the newborn’s adjustment to extrauterine life. It is taken at one minute and five
minutes after birth. With depressed infants, repeat the scoring every five minutes as
needed. The one minute score indicates the necessity for resuscitation. The five minute
score is more reliable in predicting mortality and neurologic deficits. The most important
is the heart rate, then the respiratory rate, the muscle tone, reflex irritability and color
follows in decreasing order. A heart rate below 100 signifies an asphyxiated baby and a
heart rate above 160 signifies distress.

ASSESS 0 1 2
HEART RATE Absent Below 100 Above 100
RESPIRATION Absent Slow Good crying
MUCLE TONE Flaccid Some flexion Active motion
REFLEX IRRITABILITY No response Grimace Vigorous cry
COLOR Blue all over Body pink, Pink all over

Extremities blue


• 7 – 10 Good adjustment, vigorous

• Moderately depressed infant, needs airway clearance
• Severely depressed infant, in need of resuscitation.


Head Circumference 34 – 35 cm
Temperature 97.6 – 98.6 F axillary
Chest Circumference 32 – 33 cm
Heart Rate 120 – 140 bpm
Respirations 30 – 60 bpm
Weight 2.5 to 3.4 kg
Length 46 to 54 cm