An impending birth of a child can be exciting and yet crucial. Being one of the health care workers witnessing the birth of a child is a unique role. You will be able to witness life as it unfolds. With the responsibility placed upon nurses during the delivery of a baby, baby care is an important part of making sure that the infant is clinically stable. In the long run, the steps instituted in the first hours of life can be detrimental for the normal growth and development of the infant.
1. Suctioning Secretions – As the head of the infant comes out, the nurse or medical intern responsible for the baby care must be able to establish the basic ABC’s – Airway, Breathing and Circulation. A rubber bulb syringe is used to clear out the nasal openings as well as the buccal area of the baby. Secretions should be gently taken out of these areas in order to give a patent airway. The baby is placed on his or her side in order to prevent aspiration. Suctioning of the oral secretions can be further being done after that. Circulation must also be assessed especially when there is a cord coil. It is essential to untangle the cord first so that the baby won’t be strangled.
2. Cord Cutting and Clamping – Cutting and clamping the cord is the official end of the support of the mother’s blood circulation, the neonate is on its own in terms of the circulatory system. Some agencies would also allow the father to cut the cord for memorable reasons. This procedure must be done aseptically by the nurse. In this part, it is important to assess the completeness of the two veins and one artery. Any anomalies must be reported to the paediatrician.
3. APGAR Score – As the baby is taken out of the womb, the doctor will examine the baby in the first minute of life as well as on the next five minutes. The APGAR score has been widely used in order to assess the infant in its first hours of life. Developed by Dr. Virgina Apgar in 1952, it measures the heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, skin colour and reflex irritability of the infant. A perfect score of 10 means that the baby is normal while a score of zero to 3 may mean resuscitation measures. Assisting during the scoring may mean being present during the resuscitation of the baby.
4. Immunization – Initial dose of vitamin K is given in order to avoid bleeding after the birth. Antibiotic ointment is applied to both eyes of the baby also.
Keeping the baby warm is a very important part of the initial management. Since babies have less fat, it is a must to thermoregulate them. The first hour is also an important to give a chance for the mother to see her child when everything is stabilized.