Chapter 3.1 Essential newborn care at delivery

Most newborns require only simple supportive care at and after delivery.

  • Dry the infant with a clean towel.
  • Observe the infant while drying (see Chart 12)
  • Maintain the infant in skin-to-skin contact position with the mother.
  • Cover the infant to prevent heat loss.
  • Clamp and cut the cord at least 1 min after birth.
  • Encourage the mother to initiate breastfeeding within the first hour.

Skin-to-skin contact and early breastfeeding are the best ways to keep an infant warm and prevent hypoglycaemia. Term and low-birth-weight neonates weighing > 1200 g who do not have complications and are clinically stable should be put in skin-to-skin contact with the mother soon after birth after they have been dried thoroughly to prevent hypothermia.