Common Health Issues of Newborn Babies

Common newborn health disorders include issues relating to physical state, environmental agents, birth damage, or metabolic mistakes that may arise during the neonatal period. The emphasis is on the nurse's identification and management of these issues. It also emphasizes frequent malformations that necessitate surgical correction/intervention. The newborn's undeveloped physiological systems endanger his life. Your ability to identify common neonatal health concerns and provide appropriate treatment substantially impacts the neonate's immediate survival and subsequent development. A childhood illness influences both physical and emotional development.

Health Issues of Newborn Babies

Basic health care may address most of these ailments, not just in sub-centers or PHCs, but also at home. The most crucial aspect, however, is the early detection of the sickness after recognizing the clinical features of the condition. The most critical step when a kid arrives at a health care professional is triage, which determines which child must be referred and who can be treated. A child is not a smaller version of an adult. As a result, healthcare practitioners must understand the unique requirements of children. Because children differ from adults, parents are frequently concerned about what is typical for a child. As a result, healthcare practitioners must grasp what is typical in a child.

Significance of Newborn Care

The cornerstone of child and adult health is newborn health. A good start in life also depends on the mother's health and the care she and her infant get before, during, and after birth. Evidence-based interventions have the potential to save millions of neonatal lives. During the postnatal transition phase, the infant is exposed to various external cues such as light, temperature, and sound. Newborn respiration is stimulated, and circulation shifts from fetal to neonatal. Its metabolic process is altered, stimulating the liver and gastrointestinal system for meconium transit.

The first twenty-four hours of life are essential because respiratory distress and circulatory failure can occur suddenly and without warning. Most neonates make the required bio-physiological, psycho-social adjustments to life outside the womb with little difficulty. Their survival depends on the nursing care they get during these vital hours. As a result, infant care must be delivered based on a rigorous assessment of biological and behavioral responses and the identification of issues based on the assessment findings. It includes developing, executing, and assessing appropriate nursing interventions.

Signs and Symptoms

Periodic illnesses and fevers may be unavoidable when you have a baby. However, even parents with expertise with unwell newborns may struggle to differentiate between common fussiness, minor diseases, and more significant issues. When your baby is ill, you should call your doctor and seek emergency care. When a baby is otherwise healthy, the occasional illness is usually nothing to worry about, but there are occasions when it is best to call your doctor. Keep an eye out for these symptoms −

  • Alterations in appetite − Contact your healthcare physician if your infant consistently refuses to eat or eats badly.

  • Alterations in behavior − Inform your healthcare practitioner as soon as possible if your baby is particularly sleepy or has difficulty waking up. Inform your doctor if your infant appears floppy, cries more frequently than normal, or is difficult to comfort.

  • Tender penis or navel − If your baby's penis or umbilical area turns unexpectedly red, oozes, or starts to bleed, call your doctor right away.

  • Fever − Call your doctor immediately if your infant has a fever and is under three months old. Contact your healthcare practitioner if your kid is between the ages of 3 and 6 months, has a temperature up to 102 F (38.9 C), feels sick, or has a temperature over 102 F (38.9 C). Contact your healthcare practitioner if your child is between 6 and 24 months and has a temperature greater than 102 F (38.9 C) for more than a day without exhibiting any other signs or symptoms. Based on the severity of any additional signs or symptoms your infant exhibits, such as a cold, cough, or diarrhea, you may want to call your doctor more quickly. Call your doctor if your child develops a fever that lasts longer than three days.

  • Diarrhea − If your infant passes more than three particularly loose or watery stools, get in touch with your healthcare professional.

  • Vomiting − It is natural for babies to occasionally spit up, which is the simple passage of stomach contents via the mouth. When the discharge is strong and shoots out inches rather than dribbles from the mouth, vomiting happens. Call your doctor immediately if your infant throws up after feeding or has not been able to drink anything for more than eight hours.

  • Dehydration − If your child cries less frequently, changes diapers less frequently, or has a dry mouth or nose, call your doctor. Also, get in touch with your doctor if your baby's soft spot seems to have shrunk. Seek immediate help if your baby exhibits any of the following symptoms:

    • Difficulty breathing

    • Unconsciousness, acting strangely or becoming more withdrawn and less alert.

    • Skin or lips that look blue or gray

    • Increasing or severe persistent pain or irritability

    • Unstoppable bleeding

    • Seizures

Common Health Issues

Following are the major common health issues in children−


One of the most typical pediatric illnesses is colic. It typically affects newborns between the ages of two weeks and four months and is defined by spells of severe crying that continue for at least three hours and occur more than three times per week. Although doctors are unsure of the cause of colic, they speculate that it may be brought on by indigestion or intolerance to foods like milk or wheat. Interventions like dietary changes and giving them gentle pats on the back during a crying episode can frequently help colicky newborns. Pediatricians advise you to try calming your infant using various methods, such as feeding them gently while lying down and dressing them in cold clothing on hot days.

Flu and Cold

Children are more susceptible to colds and the flu in comparison to adults. They are less likely to fight off an infection independently because of their underdeveloped immune systems. If necessary, pediatricians can immunize children against these illnesses and, when necessary, provide over-the-counter painkillers and fever reducers to keep them healthy.

Infected Ears

Pediatricians advise children to have examinations every six months because ear infections are particularly common in children. Depending on their variety, they cause pain, redness within your child's ear(s), fever, and other symptoms. They are caused by fluid building up behind the eardrum. For instance, discharge from one (or both) ears is a sign of acute otitis media, whereas repeated cold-like symptoms indicate chronic otitis media. Depending on how severe the condition is, your child's doctor might advise antibiotics to treat it. They also give parents advice on how to stop reoccurring incidents.

Baby Acne

The most typical age for the onset of acne in children is puberty, yet it can affect anyone at any age. Babies between the ages of three and six months who crawl around or play on their stomachs experience breakouts on their cheeks and forehead. Pediatricians may advise a consumer product, such as benzoyl peroxide, to treat infant acne.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

Typical symptoms of bacterial conjunctivitis include redness, watery eyes, and discharge from one eye (or both). This can be brought on by germs entering your child's eye(s) via touching them with unclean hands or other objects, coming into contact with someone who has it, or prolonged exposure to bright lights.

Nappy Rash

The common skin condition known as diaper rash is brought on by prolonged exposure of the diaper area to urine and feces. Lack of airflow, intolerance to particular diapers or wipe brands, and dietary allergies can all contribute to it. For these kinds of baby rashes, clinicians will occasionally prescribe a topical treatment like zinc oxide.


This problem can occur when bacteria in your child's mouth inflame the tonsils and create an infection, commonly Streptococcus pneumonia (the most common cause). If recurring infections persist despite antibiotic treatment, tonsillectomy surgery may be necessary.


A yellowish hue on the skin, eyes, or whites of the eyes are all symptoms of jaundice. It may result from insufficient breastfeeding or newborns' immature liver failing to remove bilirubin from the blood effectively.

Roles and Responsibilities of Nurse in Perinatal and Neonatal Care

Neonatal nursing, as a specialized field, necessitates high-quality nursing care while caring for babies. Because an emergency can occur at any time, nurses in the neonatal care unit must make rapid and accurate judgments and actions. A neonatal nurse must have a strong sense of responsibility, dedication to her profession, good observation skills, awareness, and the ability to make rapid decisions. Newborn nurses who can provide nursing care with knowledge, competence, and confidence contribute substantially to the neonatal outcome. The tasks and responsibilities of a nurse in newborn care are as follows−

  • Nurses play an important role in perinatal and neonatal care at health care facilities, from being skilled birth attendants/professionals to managing sick neonates, from counseling mothers about breastfeeding to advising home care of high-risk neonates, and from implementing Kangaroo Mother Care to stabilizing sick neonates.

  • They monitor newborns during the intrapartum, postpartum, and neonatal periods.

  • Neonatal nurses undertake a variety of operations, including nursery equipment maintenance.

  • The capacity of nurses to detect, report, and document newborn symptoms such as color, edema, presence of sclerema, rashes, respiration rate, abdominal distension, evident abnormalities, scream activity, tremors, and bulging fontanel, among others, aids in reducing neonatal mortality and morbidity.

  • Because of their constant interaction with high-risk babies, nurses working in neonatal care units are well-positioned to recognize early signs and symptoms of distress. Early detection and treatment may reduce the course of illness and increase survival.

  • The role of the neonatal nurse includes assessing, documenting, planning, administering, and evaluating care. Nursing evaluation enables nursing staff to arrange patient data into a standard nomenclature that can be used as a decision-making tool.


Children are vulnerable to a variety of illnesses, including infectious diseases. The majority of this sickness may be handled in a sub-center and at home with good counselling and follow-up. When a parent brings their ill kid to your centre, your initial obligation is to triage, which means you should be able to determine if the child requires immediate referral or may be treated at a subcenter. Babies are especially fragile and need significantly more attention than other age groups. Parents and pediatricians must notice and record the health and behavioral aspects of the baby and its development in order to ensure that the baby remains healthy.

Updated on: 05-Apr-2023


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