2.1  Essential newborn care

The majority of babies are born healthy and at term. The care they receive during the first hours, days and weeks of life can determine whether they remain healthy. All babies need basic care to support their survival and wellbeing. This basic care is called essential newborn care (ENC) and it includes immediate care at birth, care during the first day and up to 28 days.

Most babies breathe and cry at birth with no help. Remember that the baby has just come from the mother’s uterus, an environment that was warm and quiet and where the amniotic fluid and walls of the uterus gently touched the baby. You too should be gentle with the baby and keep the baby warm. Skin-to-skin contact with the mother keeps her baby at the perfect temperature, so you should encourage and help the mother to keep the newborn baby warm in this way.

The care you give the baby and mother immediately after birth is simple but important. In this study session you will learn about the steps of immediate care which should be given to all babies at birth. You will look at how to assess, classify and treat newborns for birth asphyxia and low birth weight as well as how to monitor the mother’s condition closely in the minutes and hours after the birth.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 2

2.2  The eight steps of essential newborn care