Having a new baby is an exciting and scary time. You might think you’re in the clear once the umbilical cord is cut, but some medical complications don’t present until birth or shortly after. Although it’s frightening to hear that your newborn has a health issue, many conditions that affect neonates are easily treatable. Read on to learn about four common problems your child can have at birth and how to deal with them.
One of the most common medical conditions affecting newborns is neonatal jaundice, which causes baby’s skin and eyes to appear yellow in color. Neonatal jaundice occurs when a newborn’s liver isn’t mature enough to remove excess bilirubin from the blood. This condition usually resolves completely by three weeks of age and is sometimes treated in the hospital with light therapy.
Cleft Lip or Palate
Cleft lip and cleft palate are among the most common birth defects. A cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the baby’s mouth, while a cleft lip is a visible split in the baby’s lip. Both of the conditions make it difficult for the baby to eat, so a special bottle or feeding device may be used. Cleft palate or cleft lip surgery is usually performed at a very young age, and most babies make a full recovery.
Sometimes the delivery itself can injure a baby. These injuries are usually mild and include fractures from passing through the birth canal, bruises from the use of forceps and cuts sustained during a caesarean section. The most common birth injuries are easily treatable and resolve within a few weeks. However, more serious injuries that affect the skull and brain can have lifelong effects.
Anemia is a condition in which a baby has fewer red blood cells than normal and is often caused by a lack of iron. Babies can be born with anemia if their mothers are iron-deficient during pregnancy or develop it later due to breastmilk with insufficient iron content. Although anemia can be dangerous if left untreated, supplementing with iron drops or iron-fortified infant formula usually leads to a full recovery.
While the most common medical problems affecting newborns are mild and treatable, dealing with an ill child can still be taxing on new parents. If your child was born with a medical condition, consider seeking counseling or a support group. Remember, you need to take care of yourself in order to take care of your child.
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball. She recommends this group for cleft lip surgery.
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