School of Nursing

5th Floor Fisher Hall
600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
Email: nursing@duq.edu
Phone: 412.396.6550
Fax: 412.396.6346

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Chest and Abdomen

Chest

Expected findings:
  • Evident xiphoid process
  • Equal anteroposterior and lateral diameter
  • Bilateral synchronous chest movement
  • Symmetrical nipples
Common variations:
  • "Witch's milk"
  • Enlarged breasts
  • Accessory nipples
photo of baby with accessory nipple
Photo used with permission*
Signs of potential distress or deviations from expected findings:
  • Asymmetrical chest movements
  • Sternum depressed
  • Marked retractions
  • Absent breast tissue
  • Flattened chest
  • Supernumerary nipples
  • Nipples widely spaced
  • Bowel sounds auscultated

Abdomen

Expected findings:
  • Dome-shaped abdomen
  • Abdominal respirations
  • Soft to palpation
  • Well formed umbilical cord
  • Three vessels in cord
  • Cord dry at base
  • Liver papable 2 - 3 cms below right costal margin
  • Bilaterally equal femoral pulses
  • Bowel sounds auscultated within two hours of birth
  • Voiding within 24 hours of birth
  • Meconium within 24 - 48 hours of birth
Common variations:
  • Small umbilical hernia

 

Signs of potential distress or deviations from expected findings:
  • Bowel sounds absent
  • Peristaltic waves visible
  • Abdominal distention
  • Palpable masses
  • Scaphoid-shaped abdomen
  • Omphalocele
  • Base of cord with redness or drainage
  • Cord with two vessels
* Photo used with permission of Mead Johnson (1978). Variations and Minor Departures in Infants. Nutritional Division Mead Johnson & company, Evansville, Indiana.