The joys of motherhood are many! So are the sorrows…When a baby is born there are a number of things that a mother must be careful about. While most babies are born normal and without any complications, there are some who could be susceptible to chronic ailments and others who are born with diseases that may or may not be treatable completely.
A baby who is born with a disease is the greatest sorrow for a mother. While a mother would do everything possible to rectify the fault, it may not always be possible. Most new born babies are born with a certain immunity which helps them to keep away from diseases.
However, a baby’s immunity power is much less when compared to an adult and hence mothers have to take utmost care during the initial months. Babies who are born premature have to be given more care as they have an immunity system that is very weak.
There are a number of diseases that are very common during the newborn stage. Every mother should be aware of these diseases to keep a close watch on their babies and prevent them from suffering and also to recognise the symptoms early in order to facilitate better recovery and treatment. Here are a few diseases to watch out for.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
One of the most terrifying conditions that a parent would face is an infant who has fallen prey to SIDS. Sudden infant death syndrome is nothing but a sudden and unknown failure of the respiratory system and resultant death. Many infants fall prey to SIDS due to a number of reasons.
Some of these reasons are very much a part of carelessness from the mother’s part. While there are many causes for SIDS that is beyond our control, there are also ways by which we can avoid such an unfortunate event if careful.
A mother must always be watchful of the surroundings that the baby is exposed to. Make sure that the baby does not have access to anything that could be dangerous or could suffocate him especially if you leave him unattended for even a few minutes.
Even a soft and harmless sheet can cause a choking hazard if it gets wound around the baby’s neck accidentally at night. It is always a good practice to use a sleep positioner for the baby at night. You can also make use of a baby monitor if you have to move around the house without your baby.
Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Most babies puke and vomit when they are fed. But when this becomes way too frequent for you to ignore, you must suspect that he has Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease. GERD is very common among elderly people. It is characterised by the flow of gastric juices back into the esophagus. This rising of stomach acid into the esophagus and to the throat could be very distressing for the baby. Mostly GERD presents itself with pain in the stomach, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and heart burn.
With babies, these symptoms could go unnoticed. If your baby cries inconsolably, especially when laid on a flat surface and refuses to feed, do not take it lightly. He may or may not vomit after a feed and may have diapers that could smell acidic. GERD can be treated completely and hence all you need to watch out for is whether your child needs a PH monitoring of the esophagus. Babies are more susceptible to GERD as they have esophageal muscles that are weak.
Jaundice in Newborns
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Newborn babies have very delicate liver and hence can be susceptible to jaundice. Some babies are born with jaundice and require treatment in order to remove the condition. Neonatal jaundice is very common and if left untreated can be fatal for the baby. Mothers must look for yellowness of the skin and mucous membranes to identify signs of jaundice in babies.
If the baby is premature, he is more susceptible to jaundice as the liver is underdeveloped and not capable of clearing the bloodstream off the bilirubin, resulting in jaundice. Jaundice must be detected early to improve the chances of the baby’s survival. Look for yellow eyes, sweat, yellow diapers and clothes. It could be a sure sign of jaundice.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
RSV is a very contagious disease that is difficult to identify due to its mild cold like symptoms. While it may not create dangerous conditions for older children, for a newborn it could turn out to be dangerous as it infects the airway passage and the lungs. RSV can be contracted through kissing and holding the baby. The infection can be passed on to the baby through sneezing, coughing and blowing the nose and through toys which the infected child or adult have been holding.
Premature babies and babies who have chronic lung and heart diseases are prone to RSV infections. Symptoms normally include mild cold with fever and in severe cases can lead to difficulty in breathing, stuffy nose, wheezing, cough, fever, nasal flaring, bluish skin as a result of lack of oxygen etc. These symptoms should not be ignored as RSV can even lead to pneumonia, lung failure, bronchiolitis etc.
Pyloric Stenosis in Newborns
Though not a very common condition pyloric stenosis or the obstruction of gastric outlet in infants is caused due to a faulty development of pylorus which is found in the lower part of the abdomen. Infants with pyloric stenosis will vomit continuously and with force after they are fed. The condition may not present itself at the time of birth. It is only after 3-4 weeks after the birth of the baby that the symptoms surface.
Babies with pyloric stenosis will have difficulty in gaining weight and will be dehydrated due to the continuous vomiting. Look for the symptoms and report to the physicist immediately to prevent complications. The condition will require surgical intervention in order to remove the block that is lodged in the abdomen. Once the surgery is performed, the baby will get back to normalcy.