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Newborn Reflexes and Screening (Nursing)

by Jacquelyn McMillian-Bohler

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    00:01 Now let's talk about newborn reflexes.

    00:04 We're not going to talk about all of them.

    00:06 We're just going to talk about the major reflexes that we all test for.

    00:10 The first one is the rooting reflex.

    00:13 Now, this is really important for nursing or for feeding.

    00:17 What happens with the rooting reflexes anytime the examiner or someone touches the cheek, the baby's going to turn their mouth towards that space.

    00:26 So why is this important? Well, if the baby needs to nurse, they need to know where the nipple is.

    00:31 So if you can imagine if the baby's cheek is rubbing up against the nipple or the breast, then their mouth is going to turn and find the nipple and they'll be able to eat.

    00:41 So what's important about this is that if you're trying to nurse the baby, and then you're touching the opposite cheek, then the baby's going to turn their face that way.

    00:49 So make sure that when you're feeding the baby, you're caressing the correct cheek.

    00:55 This will disappear around three to four months.

    00:59 The next reflex is the palmer grasp.

    01:01 So the palmer gras means hand.

    01:04 So anything a finger, a toy, that you place inside the hand, the baby's going to grasp that object.

    01:11 So this is fairly normal and typical.

    01:13 And we expect to see this up till about three to four months.

    01:18 They also have a plantar grasp.

    01:20 So remember, plantar means feet.

    01:23 So we're going to grasp objects that are placed around the toes.

    01:27 So if you stick something around the toes, then the baby will grab, like a little monkey, they'll grab that.

    01:34 The toes curl downward.

    01:36 And this happens anywhere from birth all the way up to eight months.

    01:41 Then there's the Moro reflex, probably one of the most popular reflexes, this is also called the startle reflex.

    01:48 So you may actually lift the baby up slightly, not really far, and allow the baby to fall back down on the surface and they'll make a C shape with their hands sort of a jerky movement.

    01:58 You could also bump the bassinet that they might be riding in or make a loud noise.

    02:04 And then they may have a startle reflex to that.

    02:07 So they have this extension of their arms into the C shape.

    02:10 So classic Moro.

    02:12 This happens obviously at birth, and it may continue all the way up to six months.

    02:16 But after about two months, you're going to get a slightly less exaggerated Moro effect.

    02:24 The final reflex we'll talk about is the Babinski.

    02:27 This one I know you've heard before in your MedSurg class when you talked about neuro maybe in your health assessment class.

    02:33 For the Babinski sign, we'll stroke the lateral aspect of the foot, and we'll notice that the toes will flare out so that's a positive Babinski.

    02:42 Now what may be ringing a bell for you is that this would be abnormal for an adult.

    02:47 For an adult we expect to have a negative Babinski meaning that toes would come in.

    02:52 But for a baby the normal responses that they flare out, and this will be present from birth all the way to the end of the first year.

    03:01 positive bubinski


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Newborn Reflexes and Screening (Nursing) by Jacquelyn McMillian-Bohler is from the course Newborn Assessment (Nursing).


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. 3–4 months
    2. 1 year
    3. 6–7 months
    4. 2–3 weeks
    1. Bilateral arm extension
    2. Fingers fan out
    3. Legs stretch out
    4. Fingers clench
    5. Legs remain in place

    Author of lecture Newborn Reflexes and Screening (Nursing)

     Jacquelyn McMillian-Bohler

    Jacquelyn McMillian-Bohler


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