NMHS20690 The Newborn Infant

Academic Year 2021/2022

The aim of this module is to develop student understanding of the role of the midwife in the provision of evidence-based, family-centered care of the healthy, term neonate. The student will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to evaluate neonatal well-being via the physical, psychological, and social assessment of the neonate. The student will develop the understanding and skills necessary to assess, plan, implement, & evaluate the required individualised midwifery care for each infant. The student will be taught to how to assess for and recognise neonatal well-being. The student will learn about how to recognise deviations from the norm and refer to senior midwifery and medical personnel when appropriate.

During four hours of lectures and discussions, the student build upon their knowledge of the research process, and the research methodologies underpinning national and international policies, protocols, procedures and guidelines regarding neonatal care. By examining key aspects of midwifery care of the neonate, the student will learn the fundamentals of the research process i.e. what is research; the hierarchies of evidence; formulating a research question, correctly describe the research activities to answer a specific research question.

Two in-trimester, online multiple-choice questionnaire examinations will assess student knowledge of neonatal anatomy and physiology. A number of questions on the research processes explored during the module will also be assessed.

There are recommended online learning activities to complete during the trimester.

An end of trimester video assignment worth 70% of the final grade will assess student knowledge and performance of neonatal physical examination and holistic midwifery assessment .

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

● Perform a holistic evaluation of the neonate’s physical, psychological, and social well-being.
● Apply knowledge of neonatal physiology to communicate and provide evidence-based advice, support, and education regarding infant feeding and routine infant care to caregivers.
● Apply knowledge and understanding of transition to extrauterine life to the midwifery care required by the newly born infant.
● Apply knowledge & understanding of normal neonatal physiology to the prevention, identification, and management of the common/minor disorders of the neonate.
● Perform & document appropriately the necessary observations, tests, procedures, and care activities required by the neonate in the maintenance & assurance of their well-being.
● Identify robust sources of midwifery knowledge regarding neonatal health and well-being.
● Describe the research process and various methodologies underpinning published investigations of neonatal health and well-being.

Indicative Module Content:

Genetics & Embryology
Fetal growth and development. Fetal Circulation.
Adaptation to extrauterine life. Initial Care of the Neonate. Discuss and practice the initial steps of neonatal resuscitation.
Discuss the physiology of thermoregulation. Maintaining a safe environment. Identification bracelets, security tagging, safe positioning of the baby. Describe the normal behaviour of the baby during the first weeks of life Daily assessment and care.
Physiological jaundice
Discuss the recognition and assessment of physiological jaundice and the role of the midwife in its management and care. Discuss the care of the baby undergoing phototherapy and the advice necessary for parents.
The role of the midwife in assessment and care of the baby with common neonatal infections
Recognition and prevention of infections including-Umbilical cord infection, eye infections, mouth and skin infections, gastro- intestinal infections and candida albicans.
Newborn Screening tests Immunisations
Discuss the newborn screening and immunisation programmes-
Promoting parent-infant relationship;
Consider how the midwife may foster the parent infant relationship. Discuss how to register a birth.
Non-breastfeeding mothers:
Safe sterilisation and preparation of infant formula where appropriate.
Physiology of the neonatal digestive system, nutritional comparison of breast milk and infant formula
Discuss the historical review of breastfeeding, politics of breastfeeding, baby friendly initiative and the short and long term benefits of breastfeeding for babies’ women and society. Applied anatomy and physiology of lactation. Initiation of breastfeeding. Maintaining breastfeeding. Common breastfeeding challenges and their solutions.

Infant at Birth:
Initial assessment at birth including the Apgar score
Fetal circulation
Physiology of the newborn
Head to Toe Examination of the Newborn shortly after birth

Care of the Newborn:
Midwife’s First Examination of the Newborn
Daily Care & Assessment of the Newborn
Examination of the Newborn prior to discharge home
Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders in the Newborn
Physiological Jaundice
Infant Feeding: Breastfeeding, artificial feeding – how to make up infant formula
Maintaining the Newborn Neonatal Energy Triangle
Minor disorders in the newborn
Superficial infections in the newborn
Care of the newborn
Examination & Assessment of the newborn

Related clinical skills (delivered face-to-face in simulation lab):

Preparation & administration of IM injections
Newborn blood spot screening – skill
Neonatal Resuscitation Workshop (NRP)- Initial Steps of Resuscitation

Four hours of lectures and recommended activities to examine and evaluate the research methodologies underpinning identified clinical guidelines/journal articles re: neonatal health and well-being.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning






Online Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
online lectures; online skills/simulation workshops; reflection activities; clinical skills labs- simulation & role-play; enquiry & problem-based learning within Brightspace activities; case-study review learning; group discussions; breakout groups 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Video assignment.
Student may select one of two topics to record. A supporting 'storyboard' written text and reference list must be submitted with the video recording.
Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Multiple Choice Questionnaire: Online MCQ x2 administrated via Brightspace. First exam Week 5. Second exam on week 11. Fifteen (15) questions per MCQ examination. Throughout the Trimester n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% Yes


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Online MCQs via Brightspace- result released immediately. Portfolio work- result released end of trimester via Brightspace. Video assignment submission- individual feedback released via Brightspace prior to PERC.

American Academy of Pediatrics (2016) Neonatal Resuscitation Programme 7th edition.
England C. (2014) Recognising the healthy baby at term through examination & newborn screening- Chapter 28. In Myles Textbook for Midwives 16th edn. (Marshall & Raynor eds.), Pgs. 592-609
England C. (2014) Resuscitation of the healthy baby at birth- Chapter 29. In Myles Textbook for Midwives 16th edn. Pgs. 611-615.
HSE (2018) Term Infant with Neonatal Jaundice on Postnatal Ward. In HSE Newborn Examination Handbook, page 55. Available at: https://www.hse.ie/eng/about/who/healthwellbeing/our-priority-programmes/child-health-and-wellbeing/newborn%20exam.pdf
HSE/Safe Food (2018) Preparing Baby Formula. Available at: https://www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/child-health/preparing-baby-formula/preparing-baby-formula.html
HSE (2018) My Child: 0-2 years. Available at: https://www2.hse.ie/file-library/child-health/my-child-0-to-2-years-book.pdf
HSE (2015) Breastfeeding- A Good Start in Life. An information leaflet on breastfeeding your baby. Available at: https://www.healthpromotion.ie/hp-files/docs/HPM00367.pdf
HSE (2018) A Practical Guide to Newborn Bloodspot Screening in Ireland- 7th edition. Available at: https://www.hse.ie/eng/health/child/newbornscreening/newbornbloodspotscreening/information-for-professionals/a-practical-guide-to-newborn-bloodspot-screening-in-ireland.pdf
HSE (2019) National Infant Feeding Policy for Maternity & Neonatal Services. Available at: https://www.hse.ie/file-library/infant-feeding-policy-for-maternity-neonatal-services-2019.pdf
Johnson & Taylor (2016) Assessment of the baby: assessment at birth- Chapter 37. In: Skills for Midwifery Practice 4th edn. Pgs. 292-299.
Lomax A. (2016) Examination of the Newborn, An Evidence-Based Guide, 2nd ed. Wiley Blackwell
McEwan T. (2017) Adaptation to extrauterine life 1: haematological, cardiovascular, respiratory and genitourinary considerations- Chapter 48. In Physiology in Childbearing with Anatomy and Related Biosciences 4th edn. (Rankin J. ed), Ballière Tindall, Edinburgh, P.501-520.
National Institute of Clinical Excellence (2021) Postnatal Care Guideline [NG194]. Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng194
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (2021) Code of Professional Conduct & Ethics for Registered Nurses & Registered Midwives. Available at: https://www.nmbi.ie/NMBI/media/NMBI/Code-of-Professional-Conduct-and-Ethics.pdf?ext=.pdf
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (2015) Practice Standards for Midwives (Draft). Available at: https://www.nmbi.ie/nmbi/media/NMBI/Publications/Practice-Standards-for-Midwives-2015.pdf?ext=.pdf
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (2015) Scope of Nursing & Midwifery Practice Framework. Available at: https://www.nmbi.ie/nmbi/media/NMBI/Publications/Scope-of-Nursing-Midwifery-Practice-Framework.pdf?ext=.pdf
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (2013) UK-WHO 0-4 yr Growth Charts http://www.rcpch.ac.uk/child-health/research-projects/uk-who-growth-charts/uk-who-growth-chart-resources-0-4-years/uk-who-0
Name Role
Dr Deirdre O'Donnell Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Mon 09:00 - 10:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 5 Mon 09:00 - 10:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 4 Thurs 14:00 - 15:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 12 Wed 10:30 - 12:00
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 2, 4, 5, 8 Wed 11:00 - 11:50
Lecture Offering 2 Week(s) - 12 Wed 09:00 - 10:30
Lecture Offering 2 Week(s) - 2, 4, 5, 8 Wed 10:00 - 10:50