Neonatal resuscitation skills are essential for all health care providers who are involved in the delivery of newborns. The transition from fetus to newborn requires intervention by a skilled individual or team in approximately 10% of all deliveries.
This figure is concerning because 81% of all babies in the United States are born in nonteaching, nonaffiliated level I or II hospitals. In such hospitals, the volume of delivery service may not be perceived as sufficient economic justification for the continuous in-hospital presence of personnel with high-risk delivery room experience, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). 
Perinatal asphyxia and extreme prematurity are the 2 complications of pregnancy that most frequently necessitate complex resuscitation by skilled personnel. However, only 60% of asphyxiated newborns can be predicted ante partum. The remaining newborns are not identified until the time of birth. Additionally, approximately 80% of low-birth-weight infants require resuscitation and stabilization at delivery.
Nearly one half of newborn deaths (many of which involve extremely premature infants) occur during the first 24 hours after birth. Many of these early deaths also have a component of asphyxia or respiratory depression as an etiology. For the surviving infants, effective management of asphyxia in the first few minutes of life may influence long-term outcome.
Even though prenatal care can identify many potential fetal difficulties ante partum, allowing maternal transfer to the referral center for care, many women who experience preterm labor are not identified prospectively and therefore are not appropriately transferred to a tertiary perinatal center. Consequently, many deliveries of extremely premature infants occur in smaller hospitals.
For this reason, all personnel involved in delivery room care of the newborn should be trained adequately in all aspects of neonatal resuscitation. Additionally, equipment that is appropriately sized to resuscitate infants of all gestational ages should be available in all delivering institutions, even if the institution does not care for preterm or intensive care infants.
Along with the necessary skills, the practitioner should approach any resuscitation with a good comprehension of transitional physiology and adaptation, as well as an understanding of the infant's response to resuscitation. Resuscitation involves much more than possessing an ordered list of technical skills and having a resuscitation team; it requires excellent assessment skills and a grounded understanding of physiology.