A doctor will perform a number of tests on a newborn to rule out any problems and complications. Sometimes, a baby’s genitals may appear swollen and abnormal. But this will settle down in a few days confirms Dr R. K. Anand through his book - A Guide to Childcare.
Observations in a newborn’s genitals
In a male newborn, the foreskin (prepuce) is not completely separated from the front (glans) of the penis. No effort should be made to retract the foreskin. It can be harmful. If left alone, the foreskin often separates fully before the child starts schooling.
The doctor will also check if both the rests are felt in the scrotum. If not, it should be seen whether these are undescended testes or whether they are just retracted. On most occasions, I find that the testes are not undescended but simply retract, easily pushed down into the scrotum. In such cases, the parents only need reassurance and nothing else need be done.
In female babies, the external genitalia may appear unduly prominent in the first month. In the first or second week, the baby may have a white discharge from the vagina, with or without blood. All these changes are related to certain hormones that the baby gets from the mother via the placenta.
Observations in a newborn’s hips, legs and spine
The doctor will examine your baby’s hip to rule out an uncommon condition called congenital dislocation of hip. If diagnosed, this needs immediate treatment.
Bowlegs are normal in most cases and usually disappear by the time the child turns 3 years. While handling your baby, you may note a click in your baby’s knee. Leave it alone. Over the back of the head and spine, a congenital dermal sinus may be observed sometimes in the midline of the head or spine.
It may appear like a hole in the overlying skin going inwards, mostly near the lower end of the spine. It does not pose any problem in most cases, but a surgeon’s opinion should be sought, if it remains deep after the age of 2.
Observations in a newborn’s palms
Although 2 transverse creases across each palm are normal, do not jump to the conclusion that your baby has Down syndrome or some other chromosomal disorder just because she has a single crease.
To know about changes to look out for in your newborn’s head development and eyes, click here.
Sometimes, a baby’s skin may appear blue. To know more about this, click here.
Source: Book - Guide to Child Care by Dr R K Anand
To consult Dr R K Anand in person, click here
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