• Question: What is done to a new born immediately its born and why is it cleaned every part of its body expect its hands?

    Asked by aamb279 to Cheryl, Christina, Daniel, George, Ivy on 20 Jan 2017.
    • Photo: Cheryl Andisi

      Cheryl Andisi answered on 20 Jan 2017:

      Maybe @Christina and @george can give us a more appropriate answer since they are medics. Speaking as a mum (no science here 😝), the priority given while cleaning a new born is to have their airways open in order to enable them start breathing. In order to make an emotional connection with the mother, which in turn, together with attaching to the breast stimulates the production of milk, the baby is put on the mother as soon as possible. I do not think my son had been cleaned at all when i first held him! It was not until 24 hours later that he took his first birth, and i think this is a standard pediatric practice. Remember, with such a small body, the baby’s surface area to volume ratio is very high so they loose heat very first, which would lower their body temperature. Same reason why they need extra layers compared to adults.
      In addition who wants the trouble of washing a newborn! They look too fragile!

    • Photo: Christina Obiero

      Christina Obiero answered on 24 Jan 2017:

      Hi aamb279, good question! First and foremost, after a baby is born, it is important to examine it carefully and make a quick assessment to determine if it is ok or not. It is also important to dry the baby by wiping it with a clean cloth and keeping it warm by wrapping it up or keeping it under a warm light while assessing it to make sure that it is ok. During this assessment, the doctor looks for signs of life. Most newborns cry immediately they are delivered. If the baby does not cry or let out a sound then the doctor or midwife will stimulate it by rubbing its back or tapping on its feet. As the doctor does this, he/she also checks for movement and whether the baby is moving his/her hands/legs normally. Other things to check for quickly within the first few minutes of life are:
      1) the color of the baby: the palms and soles should be pink. The skin should also be pink or appear normal in color if the baby is dark. If the baby’s lips appear blue and the skin pale or darker than usual, this is a sign that the baby is not getting enough oxygen in circulation because of poor breathing.
      2) the airway/windpipe/trachea: open the mouth and check to ensure that there is noting blocking the airway and that the baby is breathing well. If their are things blocking the airway e.g. fluids then one may need to remove them using a suction machine. If the baby is not getting enough oxygen into the body then the doctor will need to put it on oxygen using an oxygen mask.
      3) count the heart rate and also ensure that the heart is beating normally.

      If the baby has any abnormalities during the assessment, then it may need to be admitted to the newborn unit for medical attention. If it is normal, it will be taken to it’s mother in order to start breastfeeding.

      Newborn babies are cleaned everywhere, including their hands.