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HealthPhone™: How to Care for a Newborn - What to do When a Newborn is Not Breathing

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Most babies are born healthy but as they are so small they need great care and attention to survive.

It is better to have your baby delivered at a health centre but if you can't we are going to explain in this film how to care for a baby as soon as it’s born and how to recognise when it needs to be taken to a health centre for treatment.

The midwife taught us how to help our babies if they are born when they are not breathing. Thanks to these midwives they make me help my boy.

My daughter did not cry when she was born. The midwife checked and she was not breathing. She had to help her breathe by doing resuscitation which saved her life.

We are going to be hearing advice from expert Janet Farr

Today I am going to be demonstrating using this pretend baby. It's much easier doing it this way rather than using a real baby. I'm going to show you what needs to be done as soon as the baby is born. It is important that you do this in the correct order. It is very important to keep newborn babies warm following the birth. If you need to, shut all the doors and windows to keep the room warm.

Before the baby is born wash you hands thoroughly and put gloves on. This can prevent germs and infection from being spread which can make people really ill. To help a baby straight after birth you will need the following: Number One

New, clean razor or scissors that have been cleaned in boiling water to cut the chord. Putting scissors in boiling water and keeping them there for at least ten minutes which is roughly the same time as this film will kill the germs. Number Two

Two clean ties. These can be pieces of cloth to secure the chord with. Number Three

At least two big clean cloths to keep the baby warm with. Number Four

A flat, dry clean surface in case you need to resuscitate the baby. Number Five

You will also need a second person to help you if necessary

When the baby’s born place it in the mother’s arms or on her belly.

Dry the baby with a warm clean towel or piece of cloth and check that the baby is breathing as you dry it.

Wipe fluids from the eyes, nose and mouth with clean cloth. Remove the wet cloth and cover the baby’s head and body with dry clothes.

While drying the baby, check to see if it’s breathing and crying. Is it face and body pink? Is it moving and active? If the answer is yes to all these questions then the baby is well.

If the baby doesn’t cry is floppy or has blue or grey skin and you cannot see its chest moving then this means it is not breathing. Quickly cut the chord. Wrap the baby in a dry cloth and ask someone to come and help if you are on your own.

Place the baby on a flat, dry and clean surface lying on its back, making sure its head is covered but mouth and chest are clear. It is important that a baby who is not breathing receives help to breathe immediately otherwise it won't survive.

Check the mouth and nose to make sure they are clear but don’t put anything in the baby’s mouth.

The baby may start to breathe if you open its airway by placing the baby’s head parallel with the flat surface.

Putting a folded cloth the thickness of two fingers under the baby’s shoulders can keep it in the correct position.

Check if the chest rises. If the baby still isn't breathing keep the baby’s head in the neutral position and start gently breathing into its mouth and nose.

Put your mouth over the baby’s nose and mouth. Breathe gently into the baby’s mouth and nose, using only the breath in your cheeks. Give five slow breaths, counting to three slowly in your head during each breath.

Look to see if the chest is rising, at the same time you give the breaths If you do not see the chest rising as you give these five breaths check the position of the baby’s head and try again.

If a second person is available to help you ask them to keep the baby in the correct position.

Repeat your breaths into the baby’s nose and mouth, looking to see if the chest rises.

Once you have seen the chest is rising continue to give short, gentle breaths into the baby’s nose and mouth until the baby begins breathing regularly on it's own.

Try to give thirty breaths in one minute.

If you have been doing this for ten to fifteen minutes and the baby has not begun to breathe on its own the baby is unlikely to start breathing and it is likely to die. It is probably better to stop giving any more breaths and try and get help from a health worker if possible.

A baby who has been resuscitated needs to be closely watched. It also needs to breast feed immediately and be kept warm. It should be taken to a health worker immediately.

Let’s end by reminding ourselves of the information that we’ve seen in this film.

Once the baby is born, place it in the mother’s arms or on her belly.

Dry it with a warm, clean towel or a piece of cloth.

While drying the baby, check to see if it is breathing or crying.

Are its face and body pink? Is it moving and active? If the answer is yes to all these questions the baby is well.

Remove the wet cloth and cover it's head and body with dry cloths.

But if the baby does not cry, it is blue or grey or is limp and floppy, check to see if it is breathing by looking to see if it's chest is rising. If it isn't you will need to help it breathe, or it will not survive.

My baby took a long time to breathe and needed a lot of help but she’s perfect and healthy now thanks to the nurse.

My baby did not breathe. They moved her head to a good position. This helped her to breathe alone. I'm lucky they knew to do this.

Video Details

Duration: 8 minutes and 57 seconds
Year: 2012
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Producer: Medical Aid Films
Views: 543
Posted by: nand on Jul 13, 2012

The primary intended audiences of this film are communities and birth attendants; it can be used by activists, community health workers, nurses and midwives who run community education programmes. It is a shorter version of the film “How to care for a newborn” that features on this channel.

This film teaches the key steps to follow immediately after the delivery of a newborn who is not breathing in case it could not take place at a health centre. It insists on the importance of drying the baby and teaches how to put the baby’s head in the neutral position, in order to open the airway, and how to perform mouth-to-mouth.

It encourages the immediate referral of the newborn to a health centre.

© Medical Aid Films 2012

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