Physiology of neonatal resuscitation: Giant strides with small breaths

Semin Perinatol. 2022 Oct;46(6):151620. doi: 10.1016/j.semperi.2022.151620. Epub 2022 May 21.


The transition of a fetus to a newborn involves a sequence of well-orchestrated physiological events. Most neonates go through this transition without assistance but 5-10% may require varying degrees of resuscitative interventions at birth. The most crucial event during this transition is lung inflation with optimal concentrations of oxygen. Rarely, extensive resuscitation including chest compressions and medication may be required. In the past few decades, significant strides have been made in our understanding of the cardiorespiratory transition at birth from a fetus to a newborn and the subsequent resuscitation. This article reviews the physiology behind neonatal transition at birth and various interventions during neonatal resuscitation.

Keywords: Chest compressions; Delayed cord clamping; Epinephrine; Neonatal resuscitation; Neonatal ventilation; Physiology during neonatal transition.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Resuscitation*