- Kunle Emmanuel
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It is the duty of the Nurse to assess the neonate's physical and behavioral condition, conduct routine procedures teach the parent important aspect of child care.
During this time the nurse looks for deviation from the normal or other concerns that may need further evaluation or intervention.
Nursing care of the newborn therefore emphasized neonatal assessment, procedures, infection prevention and the teaching of infant care to the mother and Neonatal care refers to that care given to the newborn infant from the time of delivery through about the first month of life. The term "neonate" is used for the newborn infant during this 28-30 day period.
This includes care given during and after delivery. Immediately the baby’s head is delivered, the
face, mouth and eyes are wiped.
The airways are sucked with mucus extractor or low grade suctioning machine. The remaining liquor from the mouth is drained by lowering the head or turn upside down (this is not done if the baby is in shock). When the baby is completely expelled, note the time, double clamp the cord with artery forceps, first forceps being at 8cm and
the second one at 10cm from the base of the umbilicus and cut in between them and ligate the cord.
The baby obtains about 30-60mls of blood if the cord is not clamped until pulsation ceases.
Wipe the baby’s body; show the baby to the mother to identify the sex. Assess the baby’s
condition within the first 1 minute and 5 minutes later.
Label the baby before leaving the bedside. Throughout, the baby’s need for warmth should be kept in mind.
Assessment of the Baby’s Condition at Birth
As soon as the baby is born, the general condition of the baby is assessed using the most widely used method APGAR SCORE (invented by Dr. Virgina Apgar in 1953. The assessment is done at 1 minute and 5 minutes later. The first 1 minute is important for further management of
Can be defined as clinical assessment of the baby’s condition measured in numerical
term at 1 minute after birth and 5 minutes later. Apgar score makes for proper evaluation, closer
observation of the baby and ensures early evaluation of the baby’s condition; it prevents
unnecessary delay in resuscitation.
Apgar score should be properly documented. The higher the score the better the prognosis of the baby and lesser the score the greater risk of permanent brain damage
The factors to look for are:
A - Activity - Muscle tone
P - Pulse - Heart rate
G - Grimace - Response to stimulus
A - Appearance - Colour
R - Respiration - Breathing
A score of 0, 1, or 2 is awarded to each item.
Absent you score the baby 0
Less 100b/m you score the 1
More than 100b/m you score the baby 2
Limp you score the baby 0
Some reflexions of limbs you score the baby 1
Active you score the baby 2
Response to stimulus
None you score the baby 0
Minimal grimace you score the baby 1
Cough and sneeze you score the baby 2
A score of 8-10 is good. A score less than 7 will need medical Aids and active resuscitation.
5 -7 -Mild asphyxia
0-4 -Severe asphyxia
Principles of Care
1. Maintenance of Respiration
2. Maintenance of Warmth.
3. Protection from Infection and injuries
4. Observation and Recording
5. Provision of food/fluids
6. Education of the mother.
Maintenance of Respiration
It is important to ensure that the baby maintain patent airways. Baby should continue to breath. If the baby is mucousing, clear the airways frequently. Stomach washout could be done if necessary. Keep baby on his side and turn from side to side. Avoid suffocation from clothing and
pillow or mother lying over d baby. Maintenance of Warmth
Maintenance of Warmth
At birth the baby’s temperature regulatory center is very poor, so it is important to keep baby warm. Avoid over exposure to prevent heat loss. Put on warm clothing, cotton materials are good, wooly material on the skin can lead to heat rashes. Additional clothing or blanket may be required on cold days; a hat may also be required. Avoid over clothing of baby especially on hot
days. Clothing should vary with environmental temperature.
Provision of Food
As much as possible breast feeding should be encouraged. Mother should put her baby to breast as soon as possible. Feeding should be on demand. In the first day the infant needs about 30mlsof feed. Baby friendly should be practiced as much as possible. If need be in case of sick or dead
mother plain fluid or glucose water may be given 4-6hrs after birth. Glucose aids proper
absorption and gives calories to the baby.
Protection from infection and injuries
Neonate should be protected from all forms of injuries. Midwife must keep her finger nails short when holding the baby and grip the hand securely, protect baby when sleeping to avoid rolling down from bed. Avoid the use of sharp object/instruments for the baby. Dresses must be clean, napkins should be changed as necessary.
Wash hand thoroughly before handling the baby. Baby’s items must be separated from the family’s. Restrict handling by visitors.
Maintain hygiene of mother and the baby and feeding utensils
There should be proper cot spacing in the
nursery. Ideally baby should be with the mother – (Rooming in method). Avoid the use of pillow to prevent suffocation prevent choking; fall, over laying, bright light and strong wind.
Observation and Recording
After the initial assessment, a general & complete examination is performed later.
Neonate must be examined daily to ensure he is healthy and thriving well. During the first 24hrs close observation is necessary as the majority of complication manifest during this time.
The doctor depends on the vigilant observation of the Midwife to detect abnormalities and early signs of illness, and on her careful recording of her finding. The baby is examined from head to toe, both
physically and neurologically
Head – For size, shape, sutures and fontanelles and any abnormalities are noted.
Eyes and Ears for – discharges, colour or any abnormalities
Mouth - Infection, thrush
Skin – colour for cyanosis and jaundice rashes around the neck, axilla and groins buttock sand all skin folds.
Temperature – twice daily, normal 36.50 – 37.50
Respiration – Rate and type are most important during the first 48hours of life. It should be
smooth, regular and quiet. Any periodic apnoea, grunting respiration, flaring of the nasal alae or withdrawing of the chest wall should be reported.
Abdomen – check for distension rashes or protrusion.
Umbilicus: Note bleeding, infection etc.
Groin & Buttocks – Sore and rashes.
Stool & Urine – Meconium should start to change colour by the 2nd day. Bowel should
open 3-4 times daily in a breast feeding baby.
Urine – Passed within 24 hours, should be clear, it may be up to 6 times in 24hrs and should not be less than 30mls.
Weighing – At birth then every alternate days, maximum drop of 50gm daily for the first 3
days. From the 4th day there should be daily increase of 30gm and should recover the lost weight
by 8-10 days.
Feeding – should suck actively on breast if given artificial milk amount is recorded.
Healthy baby feeds eagerly on demand or timed.
Cord – check for signs of infection should be dry and not-offensive. It should fall of 5-7
days after birth.
Behaviour – Activities, sleep, feeding patterns are observed
Education of Mother
This should have started from the ante natal clinic. Midwife must ensure that the woman receives enough instruction and supervision.
She must be a good example to her patient. She should demonstrate how to do baby bathing, changing of napkin, feeding and general care of the baby. Instruction should be given as regard self-medication to herself and baby, regular immunization and further care at the nearest welfare clinic.
She should report any problem to her doctor or nurse/midwife
To improve child health in Nigeria, a new pentavalent vaccine has been introduced to the normal routine immunization schedule. Pentavalent vaccine is a combination of five vaccines-in –one
that prevents diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, and haemophilus influenza type B, all through a single dose.
Children between six weeks and one should receive three doses of pentavalent vaccine with an interval of at least four weeks between doses. They are also to receive other routine
immunizations like BCG for tuberculosis, OPV for polio, measles and yellow fever vaccines must be completed.
Presented by Nurse Aminu Kabir Kurfi
Baker, P. N., & Kenny, L. C. (Eds.). (2011). Obstetrics by 10 Teachers. Hodder Arnold.
Cowen, K., J., London, M. L& Ladewig, P. A. (2010). Skills manual for maternal and child
nursing care. Prentice Hall
Fraser, D. M., & Cooper, M. A. (Eds.). (2009). Myles' textbook for midwives. Elsevier Health
Holmes, Debbie, Philip N. Baker (2006). Midwifery by ten teachers. Hodder Arnold,
Ladewig, P., Ball, J., & Bindler, R. (2011). Maternal & child nursing care. Pearson Education.
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