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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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Deafness/Hearing Problems

All babies are offered a hearing screening test within the first few weeks of life. Early identification is known to be important for the baby's development and also means support and information can be provided to parents at an early stage. The NHS Newborn Screening Programme (NHSP) has a website that provides further information; to visit this site click here.

Recurrent ear infections can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. If a baby or child has recurrent ear infections which cause the middle ear to fill with fluid (often known as ‘glue ear’), the doctor may recommend a procedure to insert tubes (‘grommets’) to allow the fluid to drain or in some cases an adenoidectomy.

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Dehydration

Dehydration occurs if babies lose too much fluid (through diarrhoea, vomiting, overheating or fever) or don’t take in enough fluid (if they are unable to feed). Take your baby to the doctor if he or she is not wee-ing or has dark yellow urine, if the baby is pale and lethargic with sunken eyes and a dry mouth or has a sunken soft spot (fontanelle). A baby who becomes mildly dehydrated may begin to suffer from constipation.

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Diabetes - Gestational

This type of diabetes only occurs during pregnancy and almost always gets better after the baby has been born. It happens because during pregnancy the pancreas needs to produce extra insulin - and not enough is produced in some women. In most cases gestational diabetes will not cause any symptoms although you may find that you are more thirsty than usual or that you need to pass urine more often. Gestational diabetes is often detected (usually in the second half of pregnancy) through the routine blood and urine tests taken during antenatal checkups. Gestational diabetes can increase the risk of health problems in the unborn baby, so it is important to keep the levels of glucose in your blood under control.

Visit Diabetes UK for more information on diabetes in pregnancy: www.diabetes.org.uk.

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Diarrhoea

Babies often have runny motions (particularly if they are breastfed) and this is quite normal. Diarrhoea is when the motions are abnormally runny or frequent. Diarrhoea together with vomiting is called gastroenteritis. If diarrhoea or gastroenteritis continues for more than a few hours, the baby can lose too much fluid from the body and may become dehydrated. To prevent or treat dehydration, babies need extra fluids.

For breastfed babies with diarrhoea, feed them more often and drink more fluids yourself. For bottle fed babies, continue with normal feeds and give extra drinks of cooled boiled water. If a baby is unable to keep breastmilk or formula milk down, if the child is under 12 months, or if the diarrhoea persists, medical advice should be sought.

For older babies, toddlers and children, give plenty of fluids - water or well-diluted fruit juice and see the doctor if the diarrhoea persists.

Some children between the ages of 1 and 5 pass frequent, smelly, loose stools with mucus or bits of vegetables in them. Usually these children are otherwise healthy and growing well. This type of diarrhoea is known as 'toddler diarrhoea'.

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Disabled Parents

If you are disabled and pregnant (or hoping to become pregnant), the Disabled Parents Network (DPN) offers information and support. The DPN Helpline is 08702 410 450 and their website is www.disabledparentsnetwork.org.uk You can also email by clicking here.

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Dizziness
This is quite common during pregnancy. You might need some fresh air, or perhaps your blood sugars are low and you need to have a snack. You might have stood up too quickly; you may be feeling too hot or you may be anaemic. There are many reasons why you may feel dizzy - sometimes all you can do is sit or lie down and wait for it to pass. If you have persistent light-headedness or frequent bouts of dizziness, see your GP.

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DNA Testing

DNA testing to find the biological father of a child is very accurate and easy to carry out - generally with swabs taken from the mouth. There are many agencies offering this service. If DNA testing is likely to be used in court as evidence of fatherhood, the agency carrying out the test should be advised as the procedure must be regulated.

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Down's Syndrome

Down’s syndrome is a genetic condition and occurs when babies have an extra chromosome in their cells. It is a lifelong condition and there is no cure. It is not anyone’s fault and is not linked with anything mothers may or may not do during or before pregnancy. The chance of having a baby with Down's syndrome increases with age or if there is a previous child with Down's, or if close family have had an affected child. For more information on screening visit the Antenatal Results and Choices website: http://www.arc-uk.org/.

During antenatal visits women are offered blood screening tests or the nuchal translucency test to assess whether there is an increased risk of Down’s syndrome (these tests can only assess the risk; they cannot give a yes or no). Those women identified with a higher risk may be offered further tests, such as an amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS), which will give a definitive answer.

For more information visit the Down’s Syndrome Association: http://www.downs-syndrome.org.uk

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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.