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Newborn Eyes, Ears, Head & Hips

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The eyes

According to Dr. Iannelli, the most important part of the eye exam is to check for the "red reflex," to rule out cataracts. Further, blocked tear ducts in either one or both eyes can contribute to excessive tearing.

Hearing

Now that many newborns are being screened at birth for hearing loss, undetected loss of hearing should become less problematic. Additionally, a newborn should startle at loud noises. Signs of potential hearing loss can include the inability to meet appropriate milestones for their speech and language development.

The head

If delivered vaginally, it is quite common to see a newborn with a misshapen head because of the molding process associated with such a delivery. Your pediatrician will check to see if the front and back fontanels, referred to as "soft spots," are open and that the shape of the head is normal. Some newborns, according to Dr. Iannelli, can develop what is called a cephalohematoma, which is a localized collection of blood. Other newborns may get significant swelling that can cause a caput succedaneum to form under the scalp.

Hips:

Some babies are born with dislocated or dislocatable hips. This is more often seen in girls, particularly if they are the firstborn child and/or are of breech presentation.. An examination of your newborn's hips will be done by your pediatrician in the nursery and at subsequent check-ups. As he performs this examination, it will look like he is engaging the newborn in hip exercises.


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