You were one of the more high-strung pregnant women, a fact that may have annoyed those around you but because you didn’t it take to frightening extremes, worked in your baby’s favor. During pregnancy and even before, you took the widely recommended folic acid supplements. You gained weight but not excessively and did so with healthy foods: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc. You read all of the books, took all of the classes, and learned what you needed to know. Your baby was born healthy with no birth defects and no obvious health complications. You breathed a sigh of relief . . . until you got home.
Once your child was nestled safely in her bassinet, your worry resurfaced. You no longer had the health experts nearby in case something happened while she slept, ate or breathed. What if something went wrong that you weren’t prepared for? What if you didn’t notice? You took to checking her constantly, standing in the doorway of her nursery as she slept, laying your hand across her cheek, adjusting the blanket that covered her, noting every discrepancy in her habits and monitoring her obsessively. But even as you did all this, your anxiety failed to dissipate, for you realized that you weren’t entirely sure what you were waiting for.
Four million infants die worldwide within the first month of their lives, many from bacterial infections, complications in birth or as a result of prematurity, but if the signs of these conditions aren’t known, nothing can be done to lessen this number. Therefore, health experts have compiled a list of signs that your newborn may have a serious medical condition. The list is only seven long and some may seem obvious. However, the more widely publicized this information is the less likely it is that another newborn will pass away unnecessarily. Read them, absorb them, and the next time you check on your baby, you’ll be able to note that everything is fine:
1. History of difficulty feeding
2. History of convulsions
3. Movement only when stimulated
4. Chest severely indrawn
5. Temperature over 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit
6. Temperature below 95.5 degrees Fahrenheit
7. Breathing rate greater than 60 breaths per minute
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