Jennifer's Personal Notes

Helping Babies Breathe

The first minute of life is the most important.

At the ACNM Annual Conference I attended a workshop entitled Helping Babies Breathe.  It turned out to be a trainer training for a program from the American Academy of Pediatrics on a basic neonatal resuscitation program.

This is not the Neonatal Resuscitation used in developed countries.  This is an evidence based program designed to be implemented in resource poor areas. It was created to train birth workers in a simple procedure to ensure newborns have the best chance of surviving the first minutes after birth.

How important is this? The World Health Organization estimates newborn asphyxia (not breathing at birth) is responsible for 813,562 neonatal deaths per year. But the vast majority of these are unnecessary deaths because with very simple strategies and very little equipment a newborn who does not breathe spontaneously can be helped to breathe.

What are the strategies?  Stimulation and clearing the mouth. If these strategies alone do not work the program uses a specially designed ambu-bag to help ventilate the baby until he/she begins breathing or medical help can arrive.

The most amazing thing about this program–the tools.  The bulb syringe and ambu-bag have been made so they can be taken apart and sterilized in an autoclave or boiling water so they can be used over and over again. A must for tools in resource poor areas.

So now I am recognized as a trainer of trainers for this program.  That means if you are working on taking a group to resource poor area to do birth work, I can train you to train the midwives in this program.  Not to shabby for one extra day at a conference.


Jennifer Vanderlaan (Author)