ABSTRACT

Most pregnancies are free from complications, and the developing fetus grows strong and healthy in preparation for extrauterine life. Some babies are, however, already compromised as a result of exposure to hazards during pregnancy. Before the practitioner begins the examination of the neonate, she will take the essential step of reading the mother’s case notes and thus familiarising herself with the antenatal history. It will be in the light of this information that the baby is examined, and the practitioner will need to consider the implications of antenatal events for the mother and baby so that they can be anticipated. Some women may have spent months worrying about something that happened during the pregnancy and may look to the practitioner examining their baby for reassurance.