What is a baby resuscitaire and why would it need to be used at my baby’s birth?

packing for baby

If you have planned to birth your baby in a maternity unit, or have a planned caesarean section, it’s very likely a baby resuscitaire will be present in your birthing room or theatre.

Over the years, I’ve often heard women and their birthing partners saying “what is that?”, “what is it used for?”. Even comments like it looks quite big and scary. But hopefully once you read this you’ll feel reassured that it’s there, because you understand what it is and why it’s needed.

What is a baby resuscitaire?
It is a large standing device used by midwives and other health care professionals if your baby requires some additional support with their breathing when they are born. In some cases, it is used for clinical emergencies such as resuscitation. This would be if your baby requires much more support than just facial oxygen.

Why do some babies need help taking their first breaths when born?
When your baby is in your womb, their lungs are filled with fluid as they don’t need to use them for breathing. They get everything they need from the placenta via their umbilical cord. When they are born and the cord is cut, they need to breathe for themselves. The fluid in their lungs is pushed out and when they take their first breaths (and big cries), air and oxygen inflates their lungs and they breathe. 

Most babies need very little stimulation to help them to do this. Yet a small number of babies do require some help and support. So the baby resuscitaire is an ideal device to help a midwife or other healthcare professional to assist your baby. 

How does a baby resuscitaire work?
The baby resuscitaire has a heater over the top which is ideal as newborn babies need to be kept nice and warm. The device has a small face mask to help a midwife or healthcare professional give your baby some facial oxygen. This helps your baby take their inflation breaths to expand their lungs and get rid of any fluid that might need to be released. 

There’s a digital clock that helps keep a check on timing of when something is carried out. The cot is high so that a healthcare professional can reach your baby more easily and see your baby. The sides are usually clear and can be moved down if another healthcare professional is required to offer some help. There’s also a drawer that contains all baby equipment.

Many birthing rooms and theatres have a baby resuscitaire present. If your baby does need some help and support, the aim is for your baby to be kept with you and not taken somewhere else where you can’t see them and don’t know where they are. 

Should I be concerned if there is a baby resuscitare in my birthing room?
The need for a baby resuscitation is hard to predict for many newborn babies. The presence of a baby resucitare isn’t a cause of concern at the birth. It’s often there as a precautionary measure for midwives and healthcare professionals.

Is it common to need to use baby resuscitare?
Approximately 3-8% of newborns receive respiratory support during the first minutes of life.

An even smaller amount of newborns 0.1-0.3% require advanced resuscitation and further assistance. Chances are your baby won’t need to use it.

I know it’s better said than done, but if a baby resuscitare is required at your baby’s birth, try not to worry as it is there to help.

How long would my baby need to be on the baby resuscitare?
It depends upon how well your baby responds to the extra support they have needed. It’s likely that once your baby is breathing for themselves and your midwife is happy with your baby’s condition, then your baby will be returned to you. They aim to do this as soon as possible and safe to do so, to enable skin to skin and or feeding initiation. 

If your baby should need to be transferred to another area of the hospital, for example to the neonatal unit, then your baby can remain on the resuscitaire and be transferred on this. The machine can continue to provide oxygen and any other necessary needs to your baby on transfer.

Is it safe to use baby resuscitare?
All health care professionals are trained in the use of a baby resuscitaire and all of the equipment required to be used. It is a medical device that is checked and restocked with equipment daily. Cleaned and restocked after use. Your midwife will check the equipment at every handover of care.

Any other questions…
I hope this has helped you to understand what it is, why we use it and why we have a Baby Resuscitaire. If you have any questions, you can email me here.