Dr. Allen Cherer is an accomplished neonatal care specialist with decades of medical experience.

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Tag: Baby

Some Common Health Problems in Newborns

Most babies are vulnerable to health problems after they’re born. They may be born with a variety of conditions, and they can contract others easily. If you’re a new parent, it’s important that you know about the signs and symptoms of these conditions so that you can take the necessary steps to prevent or treat them. Here are some of the most common health problems seen in newborns today.

Jaundice

Jaundice is a common health issue that affects infants and children. It occurs when a baby has an excessive amount of bilirubin in their blood. This condition usually occurs because their liver is not mature enough to remove the excess bilirubin.

Although it usually disappears within 2 to 3 weeks of being born, it can still be a symptom of an underlying issue. Parents should consult their doctor if their baby’s jaundice persists longer than 3 weeks.

Respiratory Distress

This condition can occur when the baby’s nasal passage gets blocked, causing insufficient oxygen to enter the body. It can take a couple of hours for the baby to start breathing normally, and it can continue until the bluish coloration disappears. If the condition persists, it’s important that the child gets checked by a healthcare professional.

Abdominal Distension

Healthy infants and newborns are prone to experiencing abdominal distension. One of the most common causes of this condition is the baby’s swallowing of excess air. If the belly feels swollen or hard, this could be caused by constipation or gas.

As the baby’s body begins to adjust to eating, this condition should eventually resolve itself. However, if it persists, it can lead to a serious issue with the internal organs.

Colic

Although colic is very common in babies, it can be hard for parents to handle due to its nature. Although the exact causes aren’t known, it’s believed that it can be caused by various factors such as gas, hormones, overstimulation by light or sound, or even a growing digestive system.

Early signs of colic usually start to appear in 2 to 3 weeks and typically only last about 3 months. However, if it persists, it can be caused by an underlying health issue. It’s important to consult a doctor to diagnose the condition.

A Brief History Of Today’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

When a baby is born prematurely or has a critical illness, the neonatal intensive care unit is usually the place to go. It has the latest equipment and medical experts to give that child the best chance of survival. This hasn’t always been the case though.

 

Before the 1950s, most premature and low-risk newborns were sent home. They didn’t receive the specialized care they needed, and many of them would not live past their first birthday. the NICU has come a long way since those days, so let’s talk about its evolutions through the years.

 

In The Beginning…

Early in the 17th century, scientists and doctors began discussing the care of at-risk and premature infants. During the 19th century, various forms of special care were being developed for these infants. After World War II, hospitals started to create specialized units for these children, becoming what we know today as the NICU.

 

While many medical experts through time were involved in advancing neonatal care, three, in particular, are considered pioneers in the field:

 

French obstetrician Dr. Etienne Tarnier (1828-1897) is known for his work on the well-being of premature infants. He came up with the idea of using a heated isolette to help premature babies stay warm and grow. He was inspired by the French farmers who used similar equipment to hatch chicken eggs.

 

Dr. Pierre-Courcy Budin (1846-1907) was another French obstetrician that devoted his career to improving the care of at-risk infants. He helped educate mothers about proper hygiene and nutrition. He also advocated for the use of gavage, which is a feeding tube that can be inserted into the stomach.

 

Although it’s not exactly clear if he had any medical training, Martin Arthur Couney (1869-1950) became known as the incubator doctor after he studied under Dr. Budin in Paris. He learned about the importance of using incubators for premature infants.

 

He became known for displaying live infants inside incubators at various events, such as fairs and expositions. Through his work, he was able to raise awareness about the importance of using incubators for premature infants.

 

The Rise of the NICU

The increasing number of studies that discovered the importance of humidity and heat in the survival rates of at-risk infants prompted more hospitals to create special care units for premature newborns. One of the first innovations to be used was the Hess incubator, which was invented by Dr. Julius Hess at Chicago’s Reese Hospital.

 

Louis Gluck, a doctor from the US, was another pioneer in the field of neonatal medicine. His research highlighted the risks of infection in premature babies.

He learned that poor hand hygiene could lead to infections among the babies in the special care unit. He then came up with a series of protocols that were designed to improve the hygiene of premature infants, as well as how we approached the design of these special care units. This led to what we know as the first American NICU unit opening at Yale New Haven Hospital in October 1960.

 

Getting To Today

Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of President John F. Kennedy, gave birth to a boy in August 1963. Unfortunately, he only lived for a couple of days before dying due to respiratory distress syndrome. This incident became very significant due to the seriousness of the situation and how public it was made, prompting professionals all over the world to take a closer look at how we approach the health challenges of premature infants.

 

Advancements in medical technology during the 1960s into the 1990s allowed any baby born alive to have a better chance of survival. As a result, multiple births became more common. This also led to more coverage of the care provided to premature babies.

 

During the 1990s, the number of hospitals that provide intensive care for premature infants grew. These facilities were equipped with highly trained medical teams that were able to respond to the needs of these kids.

 

Today, the care and treatment of premature and at-risk infants continues to improve due to the advancements in technology and the dedicated staff members of the hospitals that provide these services. It is truly amazing to see how far medical science has come in the field of neonatal medicine.

What does Neonatal Care Entail?

Neonatal care is essential in helping many newborn babies thrive. When a child is born prematurely, has a low birth weight, or has health concerns after birth, they will be cared for in the neonatal care unit. This special care provides personalized treatments based on the individual needs of each newborn. There are different levels of neonatal care. The level of care provided depends on the baby’s needs and many infants may go through several different levels as their condition changes. 

 

Parents may feel anxious or fearful when hearing that their child will be taken to the neonatal care unit. This is understandable, but the medical care teams are experienced in helping parents understand procedures and providing information each step of the way. When a baby first arrives in the neonatal care unit, it will be assessed thoroughly so the medical team can come up with the best medical care strategy. The unit may be filled with many machines and devices that can look scary to a new parent. That’s why the staff takes great care in comforting parents and ensuring that they stay informed about their child’s health. 

 

Neonatal care may involve regular testing and scanning to keep track of blood sugar, platelets, and white blood cells. The neonatal care unit is also capable of performing x-rays, MRIs, and other essential scanning procedures. These tests allow the medical care team to better understand the needs of the baby so they can tailor treatments based on those needs.

 

The medical staff working in the neonatal care unit understand that parents may be quite scared about their child needing extra care after birth. They do everything possible to allow parents to hold and interact with their children. Parents are encouraged to ask questions, which can help them better understand the need for various procedures. In many cases, a parent can be present to comfort their child through holding or touch. 

 

The neonatal care unit provides specialized care for newborns that need additional attention after birth. Parents may be present during many procedures and are encouraged to actively participate in comforting their new baby when possible. While it may seem like a scary place at first, the neonatal care unit is designed to help babies heal and thrive.

What is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome?

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a condition that occurs in newborns who were exposed to addictive substances in utero. When a pregnant mother uses drugs or alcohol, the baby can be born with NAS. This condition can cause various health problems for the infant, including seizures, feeding problems, and respiratory distress. In this article, we will discuss NAS’s causes, symptoms, and impact.

 

 Causes of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

 

Several substances can cause NAS in a newborn, including opioids, and marijuana. When an expectant mother uses any of these drugs, the baby is at risk for developing NAS. The use of prescription painkillers is a major contributor to the development of NAS. 

 

Symptoms of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

 

The symptoms of NAS vary depending on the mother’s drug during pregnancy. However, common symptoms include seizures, feeding problems, respiratory distress, and irritability. These symptoms can vary from mild to severe, and they usually develop within the first few days after birth. In some cases, NAS can lead to death.

 

Impact of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome on the baby

 

The impact of NAS on the baby can be devastating. The symptoms can cause physical and developmental problems, and they can also lead to long-term health issues. Some of the complications that babies with NAS may experience include:

 

  • Respiratory problems
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Seizures
  • Developmental delays
  • Behavioral problems
  • Low birthweight
  • Jaundice.

 

How Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is treated

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for NAS. Treatment depends on the severity of the baby’s symptoms and the mother’s drug. Some common treatments include:

 

  • Medication: Medications are often used to help relieve NAS symptoms. The most common medication used to treat NAS is methadone, which is an opioid agonist.
  • Nutritional support: Babies with NAS often have trouble feeding, so they may need to be fed through a tube.

 

Prevention of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

 

The best way to prevent NAS is to avoid using drugs and alcohol while pregnant. If you are pregnant and you need help to stop using drugs or alcohol, there are several resources available to you, including counseling and addiction treatment programs. It is also important to get regular prenatal care so that your doctor can monitor your baby’s development. If you think you may have an issue with drugs or alcohol, talk to your doctor about it. Getting help early on can make a big difference in the health of you and your baby.

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Neonatal Intensive Care Trends in 2021

Neonatal intensive care (NIC) is a term used to describe the care of premature, or very premature infants in an intensive setting. NIC is often necessary to save the infant’s life and provide long-term care for them. In 2021, there will be an increase in the number of babies born with significant medical conditions, such as heart disease and leukemia. To provide the best possible care for these infants, it is essential to understand the trends in NIC.

NICU admission and race/ethnicity

In the United States, several NICU admissions are racially, and ethnically diverse. In 2011, the NICU admissions of white babies were more than double that of black, and Hispanic infants. The NICU admission rates for black babies are still much less than that of white babies, but it is increasing faster. In 2011, the rate for Hispanic babies was three times the rate for white babies. This trend will continue to grow over time as more Hispanics become pregnant, and give birth in the United States.

Medication use

During the last few years, there has been a decrease in the number of premature infants’ medications. This trend is partly because there has been a decrease in the number of medications prescribed to infants during this period. The use of various pharmaceuticals has also decreased over time. The decrease in medication use is positive because it can help with other aspects of NIC care, and reduce potential side effects from medication use.

Newborn screening

The rate at which infants are screened for certain diseases increases over time. In 2011, newborn screening for Down syndrome was more than double that of 2001. This increase is likely because more people are becoming aware of Down syndrome, and are seeking out prenatal care. There is also an increased awareness of preconception screening for Down syndrome risks.

Conclusion

The above points are just a few of the many trends in NIC over the next few years. It is essential to understand these trends because they can help to shape the future of NIC. To provide the best care for all infants, it is essential to understand these trends and work together with other professionals to provide a high-quality NIC.

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