The term "neonatology" first appeared in Shaffer's Diseases of the Newborn in 1960, and the appearance of this discipline as a subspecialty of pediatrics is even younger. In the last few years, a substantial body of literature has accumulated dealing with the neonate and the fetus in proportion to increasingly sophisticated perinatal management and interest in regional centers for the care of the newborn at risk.
It is tempting to believe that the problems of the newborn are so well known and so easily recognizable that a cookbook of techniques for managing these problems will suffice. In fact, several excellent books outlining clinical management are available, although they have limited emphasis. However, expert performance in the treatment of the newborn requires infinitely more than a set of routines. An understanding of the physiologic events of adaptation of the newborn must underlie any therapeutic approach—obvious, perhaps, but stated as a caveat,