The minute after the birth of a newborn is a period of anxiety for parents and health providers, as the newborn undergoes rapid and significant physiological changes to adjust to the environment outside the mother’s womb.
It is a fact that every year around 38% of all the babies born are asphyxiated at birth. How does this happen?
Until an infant starts breathing air, he or she depends on the placenta and umbilical cord for oxygen. At birth, the baby’s lungs are filled with fluids. And they are not inflated. After delivery, the baby takes the first breath. In practice this sounds like a gasp. Normal breathing is usually established right away. Once the baby starts breathing, the fluid drains away from the respiratory system.
Unfortunately, not all infants can start breathing air on their own. The normal transition from placenta and cord to lungs can be interrupted, and often it is. If this happens for 50–70 seconds, a hypoxic stage (no-breathing condition) is reached. Considering this, it may be argued that the most stressful period for the infant.
Fortunately, infants can be revived through resuscitation, a process in which the baby’s normal lung functioning is established thorough artificial breaths. Effective performance of resuscitation has reduced the infant mortality rate the world over. Resuscitation, a basic procedure, has saved millions of babies.
A baby may get asphyxiated due to reasons such as clogging of the lungs with amniotic fluid, which blocks the passage of air in the lungs. A standard resuscitation protocol is in place for clinicians to ensure the safety of infants. The life of the newborn is supported by a few simple resuscitation steps. The entire sequence of steps is carried out very quickly.
Apart from being small, a newborn baby, particularly a prematurely born baby (a ‘preemie’) is wet. The first step according to the resuscitation protocol is to provide warmth to baby. Wipe the baby dry and wrap him in a dry cloth. Then the fluid in the lungs is removed by suction. Once the airway is cleared of fluid, resuscitation is carried out. The lungs are mechanically aerated in a process known as breaths. A blend of oxygen and air is supplied to the baby through a bag-and-mask unit in this process. This opens up the tiny air sacs of the lungs, known as alveoli, which are essential for gas exchange. The whole process occurs in few minutes from the birth.
Low cost – Innovation in India
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Explore the Phoenix website to learn about a range of resuscitation products, including Neobreathe, the world’s first foot-operated resuscitation system and the infant resuscitator, and other neonatal and maternal products.