Common Problems Encountered in the Term Newborn

Key Points

• The incidence of hypoglycemia in the infant of a diabetic mother is 25% to 40%.

• About 50% of healthy term newborns develop visible jaundice.

• Unconjugated (indirect) hyperbilirubinemia is caused by increased bilirubin production, decreased hepatic uptake of bilirubin, and increased enterohepatic circulation.

• Bilirubin levels should be interpreted according to the age of the infant, measured in hours.

• Breastfeeding should be encouraged throughout phototherapy if clinically possible, regardless of the cause of hyperbilirubinemia.

In the newborn, certain signs and symptoms of illness are readily apparent while others are much subtler. It is important to detect the subtle signs in an infant's illness to initiate early therapy. This section discusses many of the signs and symptoms in a newborn that may indicate potential disease processes.

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