Manuela J. Murray MD and Joan Richardson MD

Newborn Audrey Newborns and their families are cared for by either general pediatricians or neonatology specialists. This chapter is designed for the student to learn the basics of newborn care from the perspective of the general pediatrician.

Birth is the most dangerous physiological event in an individual's life. Although most newborn babies are normal, the physician needs to be aware of the special vulnerabilities of the newborn and the physiologic changes that take place as the neonate makes the dramatic transition from a protected uterine environment to independent life.

After completing this chapter, the student should be able to:

  1. Recognize factors in the maternal history, which is also the newborn's past history, that may have an adverse effect before, during, or after birth.
  2. Understand the physiologic changes that occur in the transition from fetal to independent life.
  3. Perform a physical examination on the newborn and recognize acceptable variations from the norm.
  4. Identify the infant who requires special care.
  5. Understand the common diseases of the newborn.