The Golden Minute

The Golden Minute

Help baby to breathe within the first minute


If a newborn baby is not crying or breathing well after drying, you will need to help the baby breathe.

Check every baby after birth to identify those who are not crying or breathing well. These babies need resuscitation as soon as possible. This is best started as soon as the baby has been well dried, as the process of drying and rubbing the baby’s back with a towel often helps breathing start.

If a baby is breathing poorly after drying, do not wait until the 1 minute Apgar score is done before starting resuscitation. The aim is to start breathing within 1 minute of delivery. This is called the ‘Golden Minute’.

Gently clear the airway and start mask ventilation. The chest should move well and heart rate increase. A common mistake in newborn resuscitation is waiting too long while hoping that these babies will start to breathe on their own.

Note that the description of neonatal asphyxia is no longer used. Instead the baby should simply be described as not breathing well.

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