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Immediate care of the healthy term neonate

Warmth, nutrition and connections: Immediate care of the healthy term neonate

All neonates have significant adaptations to make during labour, birth and in the immediate postnatal period as they respond to extra-uterine life. Healthy, term babies are well equipped to respond to the normal processes and stresses of labour, birth and life outside the womb (RCM 2012). Optimal adaptation is influenced by the care-giver as babies are unable to sustain themselves independently. As such, understanding the immediate care needs of the healthy newborn is an important part of the midwifery role.

Learning aims and objectives

This module aims to enhance your knowledge of the immediate care needs of healthy, term neonates to enhance safe, midwifery care provision for the baby in the initial postnatal period.

By the end of the module you will be able to:

  • Outline the basic features of healthy, term neonate’s immediate care needs, including key care observations and examinations
  • Discuss the value of immediate and sustained skin contact
  • Describe the benefit of early initiation of infant feeding
  • Identify appropriate referral triggers and care responses

Keywords and linking topics

Postnatal care, healthy term neonate, newborn examination, neonatal observations, birth transitions, skin-to-skin, neonatal adaptations, labour and birth, skin contact, breastfeeding, infant feeding, neonatal thermal regulation


This module links to the article by Hugill and Meredith (2017) on neonatal transitions at birth, The road to life: neonatal transitions to extra-uterine life. We recommend you read the article and undertake this module, collectively, to enhance your learning.

Questions at the end of this resource will enable you to assess your knowledge and reflect on how you can incorporate it into your own practice. In the following questions, please select the answer that you believe to be correct. This will be marked and then you can move on to the next question. If you wish, at the end you can return for a further attempt at the questions.

Upon completion of the module, you will be able to download and save or print a certificate to include in your CPD/revalidation portfolio.