1. O'Neal, Pamela V. PhD, RN
  2. Adams, Ellise D. PhD, CNM


An invasive procedure commonly used in the perinatal setting is newborn suctioning at birth. Routine newborn suctioning, without indication, is not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Heart Association, and the European Resuscitation Council for the newborn with spontaneous respirations, adequate crying, and good muscle tone. Whether to suction a newborn is a difficult practice decision made daily by the perinatal nurse. A primary element of this practice decision is the consideration that newborn suctioning has the potential to affect health outcomes. Furthermore, routine newborn suctioning may be disrupting the newborn microbiome by removing commensal bacteria and potentially, negatively affecting newborn health. This article will explore the connection between the practice of routine newborn suctioning in the perinatal setting and the potential to disrupt the newborn microbiome. The methods employed and reported in this article consisted of review of literature and review of clinical guidelines and a descriptive study to determine the scope of practice of newborn suctioning. The premise of whether the practice of routine newborn suctioning at birth may be disrupting the newborn microbiome will also be considered. Finally, developing a microbiome-centric perspective will be explored.