BACKGROUND: Worldwide, every year, 6 to 10 million infants require resuscitation at birth according to estimates based on limited data regarding “nonbreathing” infants. In this article, we aim to describe the incidence of “noncrying” and nonbreathing infants after birth, the need for basic resuscitation with bag-and-mask ventilation, and death before discharge.
METHODS: We conducted an observational study of 19 977 infants in 4 hospitals in Nepal. We analyzed the incidence of noncrying or nonbreathing infants after birth. The sensitivity of noncrying infants with nonbreathing after birth was analyzed, and the risk of predischarge mortality between the 2 groups was calculated.
RESULTS: The incidence of noncrying infants immediately after birth was 11.1%, and the incidence of noncrying and nonbreathing infants was 5.2%. Noncrying after birth had 100% sensitivity for nonbreathing infants after birth. Among the “noncrying but breathing” infants, 9.5% of infants did not breathe at 1 minute and 2% did not to breathe at 5 minutes. Noncrying but breathing infants after birth had almost 12-fold odds of predischarge mortality (adjusted odds ratio 12.3; 95% confidence interval, 5.8–26.1).
CONCLUSIONS: All nonbreathing infants after birth do not cry at birth. A proportion of noncrying but breathing infants at birth are not breathing by 1 and 5 minutes and have a risk for predischarge mortality. With this study, we provide evidence of an association between noncrying and nonbreathing. This study revealed that noncrying but breathing infants require additional care. We suggest noncrying as a clinical sign for initiating resuscitation and a possible denominator for measuring coverage of resuscitation.