Newborn Care:Initial Steps Of Caring for a Newborn

As soon as the baby is born, its nose, mouth and throat are cleared of mucus using a suction bulb so that it can breathe well. The umbilical cord of the baby is clamped with two clips placed next to each other, and a cut is made between those clamps. The baby is wiped dry and placed next to the mother on a warm, clean blanket, or on her bare abdomen for close skin contact between the mother and the baby.

Immediately after birth, basic steps of caring for a newborn requires examination for signs of distress and for congenital abnormalities. The general condition of the baby is recorded as an Apgar score in the first minute of birth, and again 5 minutes later. If the Apgar score is low, it indicates some difficulty the newborn is having with regard to breathing or some other function. Some babies may have to be given assistance if they have any such difficulties. After the newborn has stabilized, it is weighed and measured, and the length, birth weight and head circumference are recorded.

It is essential to keep the newborns warm. As soon as the preliminary cleaning and physical checks are over, the baby is wrapped in soft clothes. The head is also kept covered to reduce loss of warmth. Antibiotic eye drops are administered to the eyes of the newborn, to prevent eye infections due to harmful microorganisms which may have been encountered during the birthing process.

The newborn and the mother initially remain together in the birthing room as they recover from the strains of birthing. In a birth center, the baby’s father or mother’s partner may remain in the room with the mother and the baby. If the mother is breast feeding the baby, the newborn may be put to the mother’s breast in the first half hour after birth. Some hospitals and birth centers allow the newborn to remain with the mother, while others keep the baby in a nursery after feeding. The newborns swaddled in warm clothes are laid on their backs in the cribs. Since the newborns usually have low vitamin K levels, the baby may be given a vitamin K injection which would prevent bleeding.

The first bath is usually given 6 hours after birth or later. The white substance on the baby’s skin called vernix caseosa protects the baby from infections. While giving bath and during routine caring for a Newborn, It is important to not  wash this substance away.

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Yasser Elnahas

MD, PHD, Professor Of CardioVascular Surgery
Dr. Yasser Elnahas, Is an associate Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery. Dr. Elnahas was trained as a fellow At Texas Heart Institute And Mayo Clinic Foundation.Dr. Elnahas is dedicated to educating the general public about different disease conditions and simplifying the medical knowledge in an easy to understand terminology.

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