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HiPP's A-Z of pregnancy & child health

The A-Z contains information on many aspects of pregnancy
and child health. It is arranged alphabetically so you can find what you are looking for with ease. If you are at all concerned about your health or your child’s health, please consult your health professional.

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Talipes

A defect apparent at birth in which the foot is twisted out of position, often twisting inwards (it used to be known as club foot). The problem is twice as common in boys as in girls. Strappings, splints or casts may be used to manipulate the foot. In some cases surgery may be required.

Babies can also have ‘positional talipes which can be corrected with gentle exercise and physiotherapy.

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Teething

Babies often start teething around 6 months, although they all vary. When teething, babies often become irritable, dribble and have reddened cheeks - and chew on everything.

The front two bottom teeth are usually the first to appear, followed by the top two middle teeth. The two teeth either side of the top two teeth are usually next, and then the two teeth either side of the bottom ones. There are 20 ‘first’ teeth and they are all likely to be through by the time the child is three years old.

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Temper Tantrums

Temper tantrums are quite common in toddlers around 2 years and are often caused by frustration at not being able to express themselves properly. They may be worse when a child is hungry or tired. Try to distract a child in a tantrum, and if that doesn’t work just stay calm and try to ignore them. Don’t give in to demands just to end the tantrum - your child will soon work out that it is a good way of getting what they want!

Visit Parentline Plus for more information, advice and tips: www.parentlineplus.org.uk.

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Temperature

The normal average body temperature of a child is 36.5ºC – 37ºC depending on how it is taken. The medical term for a fever or high temperature is pyrexia. It’s always distressing when your baby or child has a fever, but it’s seldom harmful. Most fevers are caused by infections - either a bacterial infection such as tonsillitis, or a viral infection such as flu. White blood cells in the body fight infection and raise the temperature of the body in an effort to destroy the bacteria or virus.

A fever is a temperature over 37.5ºC. Contact your doctor, or NHS Direct (0845 46 47), if you are at all worried, if your child's temperature is over 39ºC - or if the fever lasts more than 3 days.

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TENS

A TENS machine (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) is designed to help counter pain during labour. They may be purchased and also hired.

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Threadworms

In children, the common type of roundworm found is threadworm. These live inside the child's bottom and eggs are laid around the anus, causing itching, particularly at night. The child scratches his or her bottom and picks up eggs under the fingernails. These are easily transferred into the mouth and swallowed and the whole cycle continues. If your child has a very itchy bottom, especially at night, look for thread-like worms in their stools.

If you find them, consult your doctor, who will prescribe anti-worm treatment for the whole family. This is a single-dose treatment followed two weeks later by a second single dose. Keep nails short and make sure children wash their hands after going to the lavatory.

Anti-worm treatment may not be suitable for babies under three months, for breastfeeding mothers or during pregnancy (particularly during the first trimester). In this instance the doctor may recommend following a strict hygiene routine.

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Thrush/Candida

This is a fungal infection that is quite common - symptoms are soreness of the vagina, itching and a white discharge. Treatment in pregnancy is generally straightforward, using suppositories and cream – you should avoid any medicines that need to be swallowed. Babies can also suffer from oral thrush, i.e. in the mouth, and will need treatment with an anti-fungal gel/liquid. If a baby has oral thrush and is breastfeed, the mother will also need treatment.

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Toilet Training

Encouraging a child to become toilet-trained often starts around the age of two and most children are clean and dry during the day by the time they are three. It can take much longer before a child is dry at night. Occasional accidents can continue to happen up to the age of five - often because a child is too busy to go to the toilet or can’t hold on for very long.

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Tongue-tie

This is a minor condition where the tissue under the tongue that connects it to the floor of the mouth is short and extends to the tip of the tongue. This can cause limited movement of the tongue and can cause difficulties in establishing breastfeeding. Occasionally, minor surgery may be needed.

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Tonsillitis

Mainly occurring in young children, tonsillitis is inflammation and infection of the tonsils, causing a sore throat and difficulty in swallowing. If you look down the throat it will be red and inflamed. Plenty of fluids and liquid paracetamol will usually help alleviate symptoms, although sometimes antibiotics may be required. The tonsils may be surgically removed (tonsillectomy) if the infection is severe or occurs frequently.

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Tooth Decay

If you are giving your baby drinks other than milk or water, it is best to use a cup rather than a bottle. If you give juice to your little one, it should be at a concentrate of 1 part juice to 10 parts water. If you use a dummy, never dip it in anything. Once baby’s teeth start to come through, start brushing them regularly. Special baby toothbrushes and toothpaste are available - just use a smear of paste on the brush and do your best! Take your baby with you when you go to the dentist so that he or she sees it as a normal part of life.

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Top And Tail

This is the usual term for cleaning a baby up if they are not being bathed. Use one bowl of warm water for the ‘top’, i.e. face, ears, neck and hands, and a separate one for the ‘tail’, i.e. bottom.

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Toxoplasmosis

This infection (usually symptomless in healthy women) is caused by a parasite found in the faeces of infected cats and in undercooked or uncooked meat (e.g. salami which is cured, not cooked). It can cause problems for unborn babies of women who are infected. As a preventive measure, pregnant women are advised to avoid contact or wear gloves (and wash hands thoroughly afterwards) when handling cat litter trays or gardening. They should also wash their hands thoroughly before and after handling food. All fruit and vegetables (including bags of ready washed salads) should be washed before use and all meats thoroughly cooked.

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Have you got a question?

If you want more advice, please ask a question or visit our forum.

Otherwise, please get in touch with the HiPP Baby Club.