KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It’s normal for expectant parents to be concerned about the well-being of their newborn baby, and there are some common conditions doctors look for right after birth. There are three common conditions in newborns; Hypoglycemia, Respiratory Distress, and Jaundice.
Hypoglycemia is when a newborn’s blood glucose, or sugar, is very low. This can be dangerous because the brain needs blood glucose to function. This condition is most common in preemies or infants of diabetic mothers. According to Malinda Harris, Children’s Hospital neonatologist, this condition is seen most often in the NICU. Lower blood glucose values are common in a healthy newborn immediately after birth, but blood sugar levels should increase within hours.
Newborns with more severe hypoglycemia may need intervention, like giving the baby a fast-acting source of glucose. This can be administered as an early feeding with a water/sugar mixture or through an IV.
Respiratory Distress is when the newborn is having trouble breathing. Harris does say that it may take your baby a few hours after birth to form a normal breathing pattern, but then breathing should improve. If your newborn is breathing very fast, retractions of muscles around ribs when breathing, flaring of the nose, grunting while breathing or persistent blue skin coloring, Harris urges parents to notify your pediatrician immediately to make sure there is not a bigger issue like the lungs not operating properly.
Jaundice is the yellow color of the skin caused by a build-up of a chemical called bilirubin in the blood. It is seen in the skin of many newborns of any race or color. Mild jaundice is harmless. However, if the bilirubin continues to rise and is not treated, it can lead to brain injury. Babies are routinely screened for jaundice within 24-hours of birth and the condition can easily be treated with light therapy.
To find other common conditions in newborns, visit healthychildren.org