6.2.3  Is the baby breathing too fast?

Urgently refer a newborn who appears to be in respiratory distress.

Count the baby’s breaths in one minute. Is it breathing normally or too fast? Fast breathing is a respiration rate equal to or greater than 60 breaths per minute. The normal breathing in a newborn is 40-60 breaths per minute, which you should check twice for one minute each time. Look for severe chest in-drawing: this means that while the baby is breathing in, the area of its lower ribs on each side ‘sucks’ inwards deeply (Figure 6.2).

A newborn with chest in-drawing.
Figure 6.2  Chest in-drawing is a sign that a newborn is in respiratory distress.

6.2.2  Is the newborn lethargic or unconscious?

6.2.4  Is the baby’s temperature normal?