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Nursing the neonate


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When discussing asymmetrical IUGR with parents emphasis should be placed on the preservation of brain growth and that body weight will catch up


As well as categorising by weight it is important to clinically assess the newborn infant to ascertain whether it is small for gestational age or exhibiting signs of intrauterine retardation. The causes of IUGR should be considered and the consequences of IUGR predicted and managed appropriately (e.g. hypoglycaemia, hypothermia, polycythaemia).


In nursing the extreme preterm it is important to be aware of the complications of prematurity, which include poor temperature and fl uid  regulation and cardiorespiratory immaturity as well as the complications of intensive care such as excessive inappropriate handling, pain and infection.


The skin of a  preterm infant is thin and   easily damaged and may remain relatively   alkalotic. It therefore forms a  limited mechanical and immunological barrier as well as providing poor insulation, which is why care must be taken when handling the infant to prevent further skin breakdown.

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