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.

Baby Massage

This is a great way to bond with your baby and may help you and your baby to relax, relieve digestive problems such as colic, and soothe dry skin. In helping to reduce stress levels, baby massage has been shown to help babies sleep better. For advice on baby massage classes in your area, ask your midwife or health visitor, or visit the International Association of Infant Massage

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Backache In Pregnancy

During pregnancy, muscles and ligaments relax to let your uterus expand. This can result in backache (which may also extend to the buttocks). Wear low heels, avoid heavy lifting and try to rest with your feet up. A hot water bottle may help and massage can also be beneficial. If your backache is very painful, your GP or midwife may be able to refer you to an obstetric physiotherapist.

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Bedding For Babies

Do not use a duvet, quilt or pillow for babies under 12 months. Place baby ?feet to foot? in the cot tuck the covers under your baby?s arms.

The amount of bedding you use depends on the room temperature. An ideal room temperature is between 16-20°C (18°C is just right). Feel baby?s tummy or neck to check whether they are too hot or cold - not their feet or hands, which often feel cool.

Babies have different requirements, but if your baby is wearing a vest and sleepsuit, then typical bedding at various room temperatures would be:

  • 16°C - 1 sheet plus 3 layers of blanket (a doubled over blanket counts as two layers)
  • 18°C (ideal room temperature) - 1 sheet plus 2 layers of blanket
  • 21°C - 1 sheet plus 1 layer of blanket
  • 24°C - 1 sheet only

Many parents choose to use a baby sleeping bag over the baby?s sleepsuit in place of blankets. Baby sleeping bags are available in various sizes and tog (warmth) ratings. 2.5 tog on its own is for use in standard nursery temperatures of 16-20°C, 1.0 tog for use during warmer weather and room temperatures of 20-24°C.

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Bedroom Temperature

The ideal bedroom temperature for a baby is between 16-20°C (18°C is just right). Room thermometers can be obtained cheaply from a number of retailers.

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Birth Plan

This is a written plan of how you would ideally like to give birth. Writing one is a good opportunity to consider options and make decisions about the management of your labour, e.g. pain relief etc. Click here to download HiPP's handy birth plan which you can complete and print out.

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These may be present at birth or appear soon afterwards. They include moles, freckles and other types of discoloured skin, strawberry marks (red, lumpy protuberances) and port wine stains (flat, often large, areas of purpley red skin). Strawberry marks often get larger at first but then disappear as the child gets older. Port wine stains do not disappear, but may be reduced by laser treatment in later life. Many babies also have ?stork bites? - a red mark between the eyebrows that shows up more when the baby is crying. These will soon disappear.

Visit the Birthmark Support Group for more information:

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Bleeding In Pregnancy

Bleeding during early pregnancy is surprisingly common - indeed some women may not realise they are pregnant because they have light bleeding at their usual period time (often referred to as implantation bleeding). If you have any bleeding, however, you should take it seriously and check with your doctor. The doctor may arrange for a scan to check all is well.

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Blood Pressure

Raised blood pressure in pregnancy can be a sign of pre-eclampsia - a condition that is dangerous for both mother and baby - so blood pressure levels are monitored throughout pregnancy.

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Bowel Movements - Babies

In the first day or two after birth, babies pass a greeny-black sticky substance called meconium - consisting of waste products built up in the bowel during the time in the womb. Doctors and midwives will want to know whether baby has passed a motion, since this signifies that the bowels are working properly. After the meconium has been passed, baby?s motions will become generally mustardy-yellow in colour and have a soft almost runny consistency. You can find more information on bowel movements in the A-Z sections on constipation and diarrhoea.

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Braxton-Hicks Contractions

These ?practice? contractions are often experienced in the final days of pregnancy - and can cause fruitless trips to the maternity hospital! The difference between Braxton -Hicks contractions and true contractions include: true contractions get stronger and more painful over time; true contractions are not stopped by a change in activity; with true contractions you may also have a 'show' - blood stained mucus from the cervix.

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For Frequently Asked Questions about breastfeeding please click here. If you would like to know more about the benefits of breastfeeding (both for you and your baby) visit the following NHS website: If you would like more information about what to eat whilst breastfeeding visit: If you require any advice or support whilst breastfeeding, contact one of the breastfeeding associations featured in our useful contacts section.

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This is a common respiratory infection that affects babies and young toddlers. The tiny airways in the lungs - the bronchioles - become inflamed, making it hard for the baby to breathe. Most of those affected experience only symptoms similar to an ordinary cold, and the condition clears up within 7-10 days, but occasionally more severe breathing problems can develop and you should contact the doctor. Symptoms of bronchiolitis include a dry cough, wheezing, rapid breathing (and sometimes feeding difficulties). If a baby under one year has these symptoms you should also contact the doctor.

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Cool the burn immediately with cold water for 10 minutes. The area may start to swell, so remove any constricting items such as bracelets etc. Remove any clothing covering the burned area, making sure it is not stuck to the burn (leave it in place if it is). Cover the burn loosely - cling film (the inside of the roll facing the burn) is ideal, or a new, unused plastic bag or a specialised burns dressing. Never use a cream or ointment to treat a burn as this can cause more damage to the skin. All babies and children with burns should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.

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