Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo

Photo of newborn infant with a stethoscope on its chest amid blue blankets.
Figure 23.1 Assessment of the Newborn The nurse’s assessment is critical for the care and management of a newborn. (credit: “A Doctor Assessing a Newborn Child” by Lemniscate L/Pexels, CC0)

The nurse is typically the first person to assess the newborn. This is the first time the newborn has been touched outside the womb. Though ultrasound scans and imaging can be done to make educated estimates of gestational age and development, the true assessment can now occur with the newborn. It is important to estimate the gestational age and complete a physical assessment of the newborn within the first few minutes to hours of birth. A behavioral assessment is completed by the nurse to help determine the temperament of the newborn and to best support attachment between the parent and newborn. These early assessments help the health-care provider determine the newborn’s need for future care and evaluations for any findings of concern. In most cases, the newborn assessment is conducted in the presence of the parents, so this is an excellent opportunity for the nurse to explain in lay terms how newborn physiology differs from that of adults and older children.


This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at
Citation information

© Jun 12, 2024 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.