Your Newborn: Head to Toe - Everything You Want to Know About Your Baby's Health Through the First Year

Your Newborn: Head to Toe - Everything You Want to Know About Your Baby's Health Through the First Year

by Cara Familian Natterson




An authoritative resource that parents can refer to about their baby's health, from newborn through the first year, this book features scores of references to reliable Web sites and other sources of the most up-to-date pediatric information for parents.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316739139
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 02/28/2004
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 13 Years

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Head To Toe Everything You Want to Know About Your Baby's Health Through the First Year
By Cara Familian Natterson

Back Bay Books

Copyright © 2004 Cara Familian Natterson, M.D.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-316-73913-8

Chapter One

Types of Delivery: Vaginal Versus Cesarean Section

Babies are delivered one of two ways: vaginally or by cesarean section. In vaginal deliveries, most babies are pushed through the birth canal. But sometimes, despite vigorous pushing by the mother, the baby just can't get out on his own. In these cases, aids such as forceps or vacuums can be used.

In a cesarean section (also called a C-section), the uterus is cut open so the doctor can pull the baby out of the womb. Some C-sections are planned in advance, but other times they happen emergently.

Depending on the type of delivery, a baby may be faced with a variety of challenges. This chapter covers the delivery experience from the baby's point of view, explaining how your baby may be affected by different delivery techniques.


Vaginal deliveries aren't always just about pushing the baby out. If the baby is stuck in the birth canal, then obstetricians have a variety of tools to help deliver the baby without requiring a cesarean section. The two most common are the vacuum and the forceps.

Vacuum. A vacuum is a plastic cup about the size of an apple. It is dome shaped, with a balloon-inflated rim. If the baby's head is visible in the vaginal canal but the baby is not coming out, then your obstetrician may choose to place the vacuum on the baby's head. A pump connected to the vacuum cup generates suction so that the cup attaches firmly. Once the vacuum is in place, the obstetrician waits for a contraction. When this happens, the mother pushes and the obstetrician pulls at the same time. The vacuum often helps to ease the baby out of the birth canal.

Because the vacuum generates so much suction, it can cause swelling on the baby's head. This swelling is usually only superficial-involving the scalp or skull but not the brain below. This can cause a prominent, boggy bump on the head for a day or two. Rarely a vein in the scalp will break, causing a large bruise in the area where the vacuum was placed. While the swelling and bruising can appear dramatic, they almost always go away by the time the baby leaves the hospital.

In rare cases, the vacuum can cause a tear in specific veins, resulting in a subgaleal hematoma. This injury can be dangerous because the broken vessels can bleed into a large space around the skull. Over several days (or sometimes hours), the blood loss can be significant, stealing blood supply away from the rest of the baby's body. While this is exceedingly rare, a baby with a large subgaleal bleed can develop jaundice or even shock. In most cases, however, the prognosis is good.

Forceps. Forceps are metal tongs used by the obstetrician to grip the sides of a baby's head and help pull the baby out of the vaginal canal. Like vacuums, forceps are used when the head is visible but the baby does not continue to descend through the birth canal. The obstetrician uses the forceps to grab the head gently and then pull when there is a contraction. The combination of the mother pushing and the doctor pulling helps guide the baby out of the vaginal canal.

The forceps can scrape or bruise the sides of the head where they grip the baby. Usually this is along the temples. The bruises and scrapes almost always heal in the first few days of life. If the forceps hit a particular spot on the side of the face, they can irritate a nerve that travels to the eye and the mouth. If the nerve is stunned, the eyelid on that side of the face may be unable to close and the mouth may droop. This is called a Bell's palsy. In almost all cases, the nerve returns to normal within a few days and the Bell's palsy goes away.

Additional Resources (Go to "search medical library" in upper right-hand corner and type in "forceps" or "vacuum.")


A cesarean section is the surgical way of delivering a baby. A C-section will be performed for a number of reasons-sometimes the baby is in the wrong position for vaginal delivery (a baby whose feet are pointed toward the vaginal canal is called breech), sometimes the baby is too big to get out through the vaginal canal, and sometimes the mother has a medical condition that makes a C-section necessary. Sometimes the C-section must be performed emergently because the delivery is not progressing or because the health of either the mother or the baby is in danger. Regardless of the cause for the C-section, life for the first few hours or days is generally not much different for a baby born by C-section than for one delivered vaginally, with only a couple of exceptions.

First, a baby born by C-section is slightly more likely than a baby born vaginally to have fluid in her lungs. When water is present in the lungs, the baby must work harder to breathe air, so she may make grunting sounds or breathe very fast. When a baby is living in the womb, the lungs are filled with amniotic fluid. Because a developing baby doesn't breathe air, the water doesn't cause a problem. But once the baby is born, the water needs to leave the lungs quickly so that the lungs can work effectively. Doctors once thought that when babies traveled through the small vaginal canal, the extra water was literally squeezed out of their lungs. Now we know that probably isn't true. Instead, the act of labor stimulates endorphins-chemicals that make labor pains feel a little less intense-in both mom and baby. Endorphins help mop up water from the lungs. So, when a baby is delivered by C-section without much (or any) active labor beforehand-as in the case of a scheduled C-section-the baby is more likely to be born with some extra fluid in her lungs. A baby who is forced to work hard to breathe because of extra fluid has transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN).

Second, a baby born by C-section is more likely to be sleepy during the first hours (or even days) of life. This is a direct result of the anesthesia that the mom received during the delivery. This is described in more detail in chapter 8.

Additional Resources (Go to "search medical library" in upper right-hand corner and type in "cesarean section.") (Click on "C-Cg," then scroll down to "C-section.")


Excerpted from YOUR NEWBORN by Cara Familian Natterson Copyright © 2004 by Cara Familian Natterson, M.D.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Part 1The Hospital1
1Types of Delivery: Vaginal Versus Cesarean Section3
Vaginal Delivery3
Cesarean Section5
2Apgar Score7
3Big Baby9
4Small Baby12
5Nuchal Cord14
6Meconium in the Womb16
7Mom Has a Fever Around Time of Delivery18
8Mom Has Anesthesia During Delivery20
9Premature Baby22
Gastrointestinal Tract27
Urine and Stool28
Monitors, IVs, and Other Tubes29
10Postmature Baby31
Part 2Head to Toe33
11Skin Color and Texture35
Rashes: Erythema Toxicum, Baby Acne, and Milia36
Stork Bites and Angel Kisses38
Mongolian Spots39
Port-Wine Stains43
Moles and Birthmarks45
Dry Skin (Eczema)47
Diaper Rashes51
Yellowness (Jaundice)56
12Head Shape62
Pointed Head (Molding)63
Flat Head (Plagiocephaly)65
Bald Spots67
Soft Spots (Fontanels)68
Eye Rolling and Wandering72
Crossed Eyes73
Eye Mucus and Pinkeye77
Scratched Eye (Corneal Abrasion)82
Pits and Tags85
Folded Ears87
Ear Tugging88
Congestion and Noisy Breathing92
Tongue-Tied (Ankyloglossia)98
Thrush (Yeast in the Mouth)100
Sucking Blisters103
Narrow Airway and Stridor111
Irritated Skin Folds117
18Chest and Lungs120
Difficulty Breathing and Wheezing121
Breast Buds129
Chest-Wall Shape (Pectus)131
Bony Bump in the Middle of the Chest (Xiphoid)133
19Belly Button135
Healing Umbilical Cord136
Sticky Belly Button137
Red Belly Button (Omphalitis)139
Umbilical Hernias ("Outies")141
Belly-Button Pigment145
20Stomach and Intestine146
Newborn Weight Loss and Weight Gain147
Normal Stool Variation158
Blood in the Stool169
Spitting Up, Vomiting, and Pyloric Stenosis179
Failure to Thrive183
Hip Clunks and Hip Dislocation188
22Bladder and Urinary Tract194
Pink Urine195
Red Urine196
Crystals in the Diaper199
Infected Urine201
23Penis and Scrotum206
Uncircumcised Penis and Foreskin Questions209
Undescended Testicle211
Swollen Scrotum217
Testicular Torsion218
Labial Swelling (External Female Genitalia)222
Vaginal Discharge224
Vaginal (Hymenal) Skin Tags226
Labial Adhesions227
25Back and Anus229
Anal Fissures229
Sacral Pits, Dimples, and Hair Tufts232
26Legs and Feet236
Clubfoot and Foot Deformities238
27Nervous System241
Jerking Movements and Seizures241
28The Whole Body247
Inconsolable Baby255
Part 3Tests and Vaccines275
29Lab Tests and Radiology Studies277
Blood Culture279
Blood Oxygen Level (Blood Gas)280
Complete Blood Count (CBC)281
Computed Tomography (CT) Scan283
Coombs' Test285
Glucose (Blood Sugar)287
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)288
Pulse Oximeter289
Spinal Tap (Lumbar Puncture)290
Urine Culture293
X Ray294
30Tests and Labs Just After Birth296
Mandatory Tests296
Optional "Expanded" Tests298
Hearing Tests299
Vitamin K Shot301
Antibiotic Eye Ointment302
Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Acellular Pertussis (DTaP)305
Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (HiB)307
Hepatitis A (Hep A)308
Hepatitis B (Hep B)309
Influenza (Flu Shot)310
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)312
Pneumococcal Conjugate (Prevnar)313
Polio (IPV)314
Varicella (Varivax)315

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Your Newborn: Head to Toe - Everything You Want to Know about Your Baby's Health Through the First Year 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dr. Natterson appears to mean well, but her knowledge of infant feeding is lacking. Her book contains factual errors and the tone is misleading. She identifies potential problems, and then fails to identify potential solutions. She does not honor her own professional organization's views on breastfeeding. With numerous solid, proven, reliable baby care books on the market, there is absolutely no reason to purchase this one which is so flawed. I highly recommend consulting another title.
cherryblossommj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
*Checked out from the Arlington Public Library*Your Newborn Head to Toe is an interesting reference. When we first got here (to Arlington, Tennessee) and all my books were boxed up, we went to check out the library and I found a few interesting titles on the shelves to peruse. One of which was this book. For quick reference in reading a little in depth about specific issues dealing with very anatomical systems this is a good book. I would not necessarily buy a copy, but for checking out from the library for a reference it is good.
Lvhughes More than 1 year ago
Dr.Nattersons book is informative, non alarmist and extremely helpful to me for both of my kids. She breaks down each part of the body and identifies several things to look out for in a informative compassionate way This has been a lifesaver for me countless times. Several times I consulted this book before consulting the Dr. When I told the Dr what was wrong, they were always impressed with the knowledge that I had. Dr.Natterson's book is so great. I've given it or recommended it to several friends & they always thank me.