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HEALTHY NEWBORN :: Newborn Health Assessment

Warning Signs

What warning signs may indicate a problem with a newborn?

Your newborn baby is going through many changes in getting used to life in the outside world. Almost always this adjustment goes well, however there are certain warning signs you should watch for. Some general warning signs with newborns include, but are not limited to:

  • no urine in the first 24 hours at home. This can be difficult to assess, especially with disposable diapers.
  • no bowel movement in the first 48 hours.
  • a rectal temperature over 100.4° F (38° C) or less than 97.5° F (36.5° C).
  • a rapid breathing rate over 60 per minute, or a blue coloring that does not go away. Newborns normally have irregular respirations, so you need to count for a full minute. There should be no pauses longer than about 5 seconds between breaths.
  • retractions, or pulling in of the ribs with respirations.
  • wheezing, grunting, or whistling sounds while breathing.
  • odor, drainage, or bleeding from the umbilical cord.
  • yellow coloring of the eyes, chest, or extremities.
  • crying, irritability, or twitching which does not improve with cuddling and comfort.
  • a sleepy baby who cannot be awakened enough to nurse or nipple.
  • any signs of sickness (i.e., cough, diarrhea, pale color).
  • the baby's appetite or suck becomes poor or weak.

Every child is different, so trust your knowledge of your child and call your child's physician if you see signs that are worrisome to you.

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Online Resources of Normal Newborn

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It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.
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