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Newborn and Infant Care

Newborn babies

09/25/2006

Question:

What are the normal respiratory rate, temperature, and heart rate for baby from 34 weeks to 1 month?

Answer:

At all ages, 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius is the normal body temperature. For a preterm or term newborn, a temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit is considered a fever. A highly variable temperature in a preterm or term newborn signals the likelihood of a systemic infection.

The respiratory and heart rate information below applies to a baby in the quiet, awake state. In sleep, both respirations and pulse rates tend to be slower. When crying, both will be increased.

Preterm newborns: heart rate 120-170 and respirations 40-70 per minute

Term newborn up to 3 months of age: heart rate 100-150 and respirations 25-55 per minute

When preterm or term newborn babies have respiratory rates at or above 70 per minute, they are at great risk for respiratory failure. their work of breathing is far greater than that of adults because their airways are so very small, they have only 9% (instead of 90-100%) fatigue resistant respiratory muscle fibers, and their ribs are softer (cartilaginous rather than bony) making it hard to keep their breathing sacs open just a little when they breathe out. All of that means that babies are working at least 17 times harder than a healthy older child or adult to take each and every breath.

I hope this information helps.

 

For more information:

Go to the Newborn and Infant Care health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University