Common Newborn Health Conditions

Others become worried when symptoms develop that they had not anticipated. There are a number of conditions that can alarm a parent: pimples on the baby's face, crossed eyes, baby breasts and more. Luckily, however, these conditions are quite common in newborn babies and generally pose no harm to the infant's health.

Baby Acne:
Baby acne often appears on newborns three to four weeks after birth, although it can be present at birth. The acne can cover a majority of the baby's face and can make the skin very red. While baby acne might look serious, it's completely normal and harmless and will generally go away on its own. The condition results when hormones stimulate the oil glands in the infant's skin. Using anything other than a mild soap once a day to gently cleanse the baby's face can cause irritation.
Infant jaundice:
Infant jaundice is a common condition, particularly in babies born before 36 weeks gestation (preterm babies). Infant jaundice usually occurs because a baby's liver isn't mature enough to get rid of bilirubin in the bloodstream. In some cases, an underlying disease may cause jaundice. Treatment of infant jaundice often isn't necessary, and most cases that need treatment respond well to noninvasive therapy.
Baby Breasts:
Baby breasts are quite common in both baby girls and baby boys and are caused by hormones the baby was exposed to while en utero. The breasts generally go away after a few weeks.
Cradle Cap:
Cradle cap is a condition marked by thick, scaly patches of skin on your baby's scalp. It's caused when the oil produced by the scalp's oil glands prevent old skin cells from falling off of the baby's head. Cradle cap is common in the first three months of life and generally subsides after an infant reaches 12 months. In general, cradle cap doesn't need to be treated. If, however, your infant's scalp is itchy or irritated, talk to your doctor about treatment options. He might suggest applying baby oil or an over-the-counter cortisone cream to the scalp.
Crossed Eyes:
During the first six weeks of life, many newborns will cross their eyes. Crossed eyes, known in the medical community as strabismus, often occurs because babies have not yet learned to focus their vision. As your baby learns to focus, he should stop crossing his eyes. If you still see him crossing his eyes after six weeks, talk to your pediatrician.
Third Nipple:
Third nipples are extremely common and require no treatment. Often, they appear below one of the infant's nipples and are generally small and incompletely formed. Third nipples will not develop into breasts later in life and usually remain unnoticeable, resembling small moles or birthmarks. Umbilical Hernia: An umbilical hernia occurs when a portion of the intestines protrude through a weak area in the abdomen. It can cause your infant's belly button to protrude when she cries, coughs or strains. The condition is usually painless and will generally resolve on its own by the time the child is 2 years old.

A birth defect is a structural malformation that occurs while a fetus is developing in the mother's body. One of every 33 babies is born with a birth defect. The well being of the child depends mostly on which organ or body part is involved and how much it is affected.
Heart defects make up about one-third to one-fourth of all birth defects: some of these heart defects can be serious, and a few are very severe. In some places of the world, heart defects cause half of all deaths from birth defects in children less than 1 year of age. Ventriculomegaly is the finding of abnormally enlarged ventricles in the fetal brain. Some cases are associated with chromosomal disorders or genetic syndromes, while others are associated with other structural malformations in the brain. The long-term prognosis for infants with ventriculomegaly is determined by the cause of the ventriculomegaly and the presence or absence of other anomalies. Most infants with isolated mild ventriculomegaly have normal outcomes.

Other common birth defects are "neural tube defects," which are defects of the spine (spina bifida) and brain (anencephaly). They affect about 1 of 1,000 pregnancies. These defects can be serious and are often life threatening. They happen less often than heart defects, but they cause many fetal and infant deaths.
Birth defects of the lip and roof of the mouth are also common. These birth defects, known as "orofacial clefts," include cleft lip, cleft palate, and combined cleft lip and cleft palate. Cleft lip is more common than cleft palate.
Some birth defects are common but rarely life threatening, though they often require medical and surgical attention. "Hypospadias," when the opening of the urethra (where urine comes out) is not at the tip of the penis but on the underside for example, is a fairly common defect found in male babies. In babies with hypospadias, treatment depends on how far away from the tip the opening is and can involve complex surgery. This defect is rarely as serious as the others listed above, but it can cause great concern and sometimes has high medical costs.
Genetic conditions are also major considerations: Down Syndrome, for example, affects about 1 in 800 babies but it affects many more babies who are born to older women.
If a birth defect is discovered prenatally, your doctor may discuss what will happen in the time right after you deliver the baby. You and your doctor should discuss which hospital is best prepared to deal care for your baby so that you can plan to deliver there.

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