Newborn care

A mother holds her baby as she sits outside her home in India

 Essential Newborn Care is care that every newborn baby needs regardless of where it is born or its size. This should be implemented immediately after the baby is born and continued for at least the first seven days after birth. (WHO 2015)

The neonatal period includes the first 28 days after birth. Globally, an estimated 2.7 million newborn babies die every year. Most of these deaths are in low- and middle-income countries and up to 75% of these occur on the day of birth or within the first week of life. Many of these deaths occur in babies that are born too early and too small, babies with infections, or babies asphyxiated around the time of birth. Labour, birth and the immediate postnatal period are the most critical for newborn survival.

Many newborn lives can be saved through simple interventions that can be effectively provided by a skilled birth attendant caring for the mother and the newborn. Essential newborn care should be provided to all babies. The package includes immediate and thorough drying of the baby, skin to skin contact of the baby with the mother, early initiation of exclusive breastfeeding. Babies should also be weighed and assessed for maturity and congenital defects. As part of essential newborn care, newborn babies receive eye care, vitamin K, and recommended immunizations. Special care should be provided for sick newborns, those who are preterm and/or low birthweight, and those who are exposed or infected by HIV or have congenital syphilis.

At CMNH, we are committed to improving newborn healthcare. We develop research projects which are particularly beneficial for newborns in low- and middle-income countries. Our main areas of research are:

  • The use of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) for newborns
  • The improvement of the management of severe bacterial infections
  • Exploring causes and factors associated with stillbirth
  • Development of tools to help healthcare workers improve the quality of care they provide to mothers and babies