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.


Many babies develop rashes, ranging from, nappy rash, tiny white milk spots, a red heat rash that gets worse when the baby cries, to rashes that indicate an illness such as chickenpox. If your baby or child develops a rash, particularly if he or she is unwell, check with the doctor.

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Primitive reflexes are present in newborn babies, but disappear in the first few months of life. Amongst others, primitive reflexes include the rooting reflex, where baby instinctively roots to find the nipple when the corner of the mouth or cheek are touched; the grasping reflex, when the baby will grasp a finger and hold on (very gratifying for older brothers and sisters!); and the walking reflex, where the baby makes forward stepping movements when held upright.

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Reflexology is generally considered safe in pregnancy, provided all is well with your pregnancy. It should be avoided if there is a history of blood clots, placenta praevia, pre-eclampsia or if there has been any bleeding in pregnancy. You are advised to use a qualified reflexoligist who specialises in pregnancy. To find a qualified reflexologist in your area visit the following website:

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Babies often bring up some of their feed. It may be a small amount; it may also seem a huge amount, especially if a bubble of air is caught behind it! Some babies are more susceptible to this, especially if they are very hungry prior to a feed or swallow more than normal as they feed. If your baby is thriving and gaining weight well, and is not crying during or after feeds you should not be concerned. This is rarely serious - keep a muslin cloth handy to mop up.

Reflux can cause distress and discomfort for the baby if some of the stomach acid is regurgitated back with the milk. Your GP will be able to prescribe medication that is able to ease your baby?s discomfort. Consult your health visitor or doctor if you are worried, or if your baby fails to put on weight.

Visit the Infant and Adult Gastric Reflux Support Group for more information:

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Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

This is characterised by the urge to move around in bed to relieve crawling, tingling or burning sensations deep inside your legs. RLS may occur if you are sitting for long periods. You may find some relief from massage or the use of relaxation techniques. Avoid lying in bed reading or watching television before you go to sleep - the longer you lie still, the worse the symptoms will become. Avoid caffeine and antihistamines because they can make the symptoms worse.

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Rhesus D Status

Blood group and Rhesus D (RhD) status will be tested early in pregnancy. If you are RhD-negative this could cause problems, particularly for future babies. RhD-negative women are, therefore, routinely offered an anti-D injection.

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A fungal skin condition that causes red, ring-shaped patches on the skin. This is contagious so avoid skin to skin contact and sharing towels. This will need treatment with antifungal medication.

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Roseola infantum is an infectious disease caused by a type of herpes virus. It generally affects babies and toddlers. Starting with a fever, a rash appears on the body four or five days later and this often spreads over the whole body. The rash usually clears up very quickly. No treatment is necessary except liquid paracetamol, e.g. Calpol, in the early stages to reduce the temperature if required. One attack gives lifelong immunity.

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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. Wash your hands after changing a nappy and also before eating and before preparing food.

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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Rubella/German Measles

This is a viral infection that is serious only for women in the first months of pregnancy who have no immunity to it - exposure in this case can cause severe problems for the developing baby. Fortunately, most women have immunity following routine vaccination as a child. Children are immunised against rubella at 12-15 months and again before starting school. Rubella infection itself also confers immunity.

If you are planning a pregnancy, and are not sure whether you have been vaccinated against rubella, consult your doctor. If you come into contact with rubella, are pregnant, and are unsure whether you have immunity, see your doctor immediately.

SENSE (National Deaf-Blind and Rubella Association) can provide more information, support and advice - visit:

The following website can provide useful information on immunisations and your child:

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