This study document immediate heart rate of non-breathing newborns at birth requiring ventilation – a population-based study in a high resource setting, Stavanger. Heart rate was captured and continuously recorded throughout resuscitation using the dry-electrode ECG device NeoBeat. 98 newborns were included. The median (quartiles) first heart rate was 112 (84, 149) bpm recorded 19 (14, 37) seconds after birth, of which only 33% had heart rate <100 and 10% had heart rate <60 bpm respectively. In newborns with heart rate <100, heart rate typically remained low for 20 seconds of ventilation before increasing rapidly over the next 20–30 seconds.