Decreased oxygen supply during
contractions is termed anoxia —
insufficient oxygen to fetus/newborn
Noradrenaline Stress hormone
secretion protects from oxygen
deficiency, prepares infant for birth.
Vernix (skin grease) protects against
Soon after birth the child
must take a first breath
Lungs filled with fluid
that is rapidly expelled
The baby’s system
must adjust to getting
rather than from the
Prematurity and Birth Weight
Premature or preterm infant: an infant born
before 37 weeks’ gestational age
Gestational age: age as measure in weeks
from the first day of the mother’s last
Low birth weight (LBW): birth weight below 5
lbs 8 oz.
Very low birth weight (VLBW): birth weight
below 3 lbs 5 oz.
Extremely low birth weight (ELBW): birth
weight below 2 lbs 3 oz.
Neonatal intensive care
unit (NICU): hospital unit
that specializes in the
treatment of at-risk
Incubator: a heat-
controlled unit for preterm
More common in multiple-birth pregnancies
Mothers who have a history of miscarriages
Mothers who have had previous premature births
Mothers with high blood pressure, diabetes,
clotting disorders, obesity, infections during
pregnancy, and alcohol, nicotine, or drug use
Prematurity is the leading cause of
death in newborns; complications may
Physical and behavioral problems
Individualized Developmental Care: care that is
sensitive to the particular status and needs of each
Kangaroo care: an intervention often used with
preterm newborns in which the newborn is placed
in skin-to-skin contact on the mother’s breast to
promote thermal regulations, breastfeeding, and
Infant mortality rate: the overall death rate
among babies during their first year
Neonatal mortality rate: the death rate among
newborns; often used as an indicator of general
maternal and newborn health
Anoxia: lack of oxygen
Apgar score: assesses the condition of newborn infants; it
measures respiratory effort, heart rate, muscle tone, reflex
irritability, and color
Screening tests: tests designed to identify certain harmful
or potentially fatal disorders that are not otherwise
apparent at birth.
NBAS: a neurobehavioral assessment scale that
describes infants’ functioning in seven key areas:
Range of state
Regulation of state
Reflexes: unlearned involuntary movements or
actions that are controlled by neural structures
below the level of the cerebral cortex
Rooting reflex: The head turns toward gentle
stimulation of the skin at the corner of the mouth.
Sucking reflex: When a finger is placed in the infant’s
mouth with the pad toward the palate, the baby sucks
Moro reflex: often called the startle reflex; the
baby arches his back, flings arms outward, and
stretches his legs outward, then closes his arms
back in toward his body.
Grasping reflex: elicited by placing pressure on
the baby’s palms with your fingers; his fingers
will flex around the finger in a grasp-like
Stepping reflex: When the baby is held under the arms in
a standing position on a flat surface, she is able to support
her weight and take a few steps forward; also called the
Crawling reflex: When the infant is placed on her
stomach, her legs and arms move in a crawling motion.
Babinski reflex: When the sole of the baby’s foot is
stroked from toe to heel, the toes fan out and curl, and
the foot twists inward.
What Can Newborns See?
Visual acuity: The ability to see detail clearly
Newborns can focus on objects that are between 10 and 12 inches
They can track moving objects.
They especially like faces.
They prefer curves to straight lines.
They attend most to high contrast.
Newborns can learn to identify a face in
eight-tenths of a second.
Preference for the human face suggests that
nature has programmed humans for social
Young infants can hear people talk to them and
prefer their mother’s voice.
Newborns can turn to and locate a sound.
Child-directed speech: a style of speech typically
used with infants, characterized by a higher-than-
normal pitch, exaggerated intonation and rhythm,
and simplified structure; also called motherese or
Touch is critical for newborn development.
Massaging newborns lowers stress levels and assists
weight gain by triggering hormones, which helps
them absorb their food.
Touch can alleviate pain in newborns.
The newborns’ sense of smell is as good as that of
an adult; they can recognize the smell of their
Newborns have a well-developed sense of taste,
which began in the womb; the amniotic fluid
contains a range of tastes that reflect the mother’s
The Parent–Infant Bond
Bonding theory: a theory
suggesting that the period
immediately after delivery is a
sensitive one in the development
of a close emotional bond between
mother and child
Bonding is much more flexible than
was first believed.
Breast milk generally offers the best nutrition
Colostrum: a precursor to mature breast milk
that consists primarily of enzymes, anti-
infective agents, hormones, and growth factors
Benefits both mother and baby
Begins days after birth; can
Lasts 1–2 weeks without
Major depressive episode:
feelings of anxiety,
depression, and despair
Gets worse without