Newborn

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Newborn baby wrapped in a blanket

Newborns are the end-result of pregnancy in a reproductive female.

1% of newborn infants require active resuscitation after delivery. As such, the need must be rapidly assessed in the delivery room by use of the APGAR score, which was developed in 1950s to assess the condition of a newborn. The score is out of a maximum of 10-points, and the test is applied at 1 and 5 minutes, followed by 5 minute intervals until the newborn attains a score of 7. If the newborn is at a score of 0-3, immediate resuscitation is required; a score of 4-6 calls for stimulation, drying, and clearing of the airway; and a score of 7-10 means that no intervention is needed.

3% of newborns have major central nervous, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, genitourinary or skeletal malformations, making it critical to assess newborns within the first 24 hours of life.

Assessment

Assessment should be done by checking vital signs, measuring and plotting growth, administering a complete physical examination (to rule out problems of transition from intra to extrauterine life and to detect unexpected congenital abnormalities), and primitive reflexes.

Commonly examined reflexes include the moro, rooting, sucking, grasp, and asymmetrical tonic neck (ATNR) reflexes, though there are many others.

Newborns are also screened for phenylketonuria (PKU) and hypothyroidism.

Development

Motor development of the newborn proceeds from the top down, with the head and neck coming into play in the first three months; the upper limbs between 3-6 months; the trunk at 6-9 months; and the lower limbs at 9-12 months.

Social development happens in much the same way, increasing in complexity from smiling at 6 weeks to comprehending some form of object permanence by 12 months.