A neonatologist is a doctor who deals with the health of newborn babies in the first 28 days of life.
Before the birth of the child, the obstetrician-gynecologist is responsible for the condition of the expectant mother. After the baby is born, the so-called neonatal period begins. It lasts 4 weeks and all this time the child is monitored by a neonatologist. Caring for the health of newborns is the main activity of a specialist in this profile.
During this most difficult adaptation period of life, babies and their mothers especially need support, advice and professional help. Neonatologists provide it in maternity hospitals, hospitals and specialized departments for premature babies. It is at this age that diseases can be detected in children, which in the future can lead to complications and disability.
The task of the neonatologist is to prevent these processes, diagnose the disease and prescribe the necessary treatment. As a rule, neonatologists are generalists. They have to deal with a variety of childhood pathologies and take an active part in the recovery of young patients.
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- Responsibilities of the neonatologist and basic functions
- What does a neonatologist treat?
- What is the neonatologist watching?
- When to seek advice
- Tests that a neonatologist can prescribe
- Appointment to a neonatologist
Responsibilities of the neonatologist and basic functions
Childbirth is a very important stage not only for the expectant mother. Modern women are very responsible in their choice of doctors. It is important for them who will give birth and monitor the condition of the child immediately after its birth. Women became interested not only in the professionalism and qualifications of doctors, but also in the condition and equipment of maternity hospitals. This is the right approach and a great opportunity to eliminate all risk factors during and after childbirth. The presence of a neonatologist, the first pediatrician of a baby, plays a very important role in his birth. The well-being of adaptation and the state of health of the child in the future depends on the participation and professionalism of a specialist.
There are maternity hospitals, which are designed for healthy mothers, whose pregnancy proceeds without complications and the baby is expected to be born on time. In case of identified violations during pregnancy and existing threats of premature birth, women are placed in specialized medical institutions. In such maternity hospitals, focused on problematic childbirth and possible health problems of the unborn child, all conditions are created for the resuscitation and survival of babies. Their condition and health are monitored by neonatologists around the clock. Urgent assistance of specialists of this profile may also be needed in cases when difficulties and unforeseen situations arise during normal childbirth.
What does a neonatologist treat?
Many call the first month of the child crucial. There is a restructuring in all organs and systems of the baby. The blood circulation changes, the lungs begin to breathe, the child gets acquainted with the conditions of survival that are new for him and this process does not always go smoothly and without problems. Immediately after birth, it is possible to develop diseases that the neonatologist deals with directly.
Let's designate the most common:
- Constipation (diarrhea);
- Cholera infantile;
- Diaper rash, rash;
- Umbilical hernia, bleeding, etc.
What is the neonatologist watching?
Doctors-neonatologists monitor the baby's health and are responsible for its safety. They know everything about developmental disabilities, pathologies of newborns and are ready to provide assistance at any time. Its effectiveness depends on many factors, the main task of the doctor is to obtain the most complete information about the detected violation. Diagnostics is based on the study of the state of the following organs of the newborn:
- Stomach. Feeling the baby's abdomen is a must. This is how the neonatologist evaluates the condition of the child's liver and spleen and determines their size. During the examination, the features of the child's bowel movements are established and how the original canal passed. If signs of congenital pathologies are identified, additional examinations are prescribed.
- Neck. Feeling the neck and collarbone, the neonatologist determines the absence or presence of damage that the baby may have received during childbirth. With the so-called muscle torticollis, which is characteristic of some babies, the doctor may detect muscle shortening.
Head. After the birth of a child, neonatologists must study the state of the baby's skull. Visual and palpation examination allows you to determine the size of the fontanelles, the condition of the bones, the presence of birth tumors, swelling and other abnormalities.
- Heart and lungs. With the help of a phonendoscope, the doctor listens to the baby's heartbeat, pulse and breathing rate. A good specialist will always notice deviations and take action.
- Genital organs. In newborn boys, the testicular area is examined. The condition of the scrotum is determined by probing. Girls study the condition of the labia.
- Muscles. General diagnostics after the birth of a baby includes a mandatory study of muscle tone. The neonatologist flexes and unbends the child's limbs, which makes it possible to identify the presence of abnormalities. The most common is physiological hypertonia. This condition is characterized by increased tones and dysfunction of the flexor muscles.
Hip joints. By examining the hip joints, the doctor moves the child's legs apart. Normally, the limbs are bred adequately, if this process is difficult, there is a possibility of dysplasia. The symmetry of the skin folds on the baby's legs is also being studied.
- Reflexes. A neural person has a lot of reflexes. Studying the reaction to stimuli and specific manifestations of reflex functions, the neonatologist assesses the state of the infant's nervous system.
When should you seek the advice of a neonatologist?
Many of the conditions of the neonatal require the attention and participation of a neonatologist. Among them, the most common and frequent are umbilical hernias, umbilical bleeding and a pathology called "wild meat". The latter manifestation is associated with the formation of a piece of meat in the navel. It remains after the umbilical cut falls off. The reason for bleeding from the navel may be an insufficiently tied cord. A neonatologist eliminates this problem quickly enough. As for umbilical hernias, there may be several reasons for their appearance. The development of pathology is most often associated with a poorly tied umbilical cord, overexcitability and loudness of the baby, strong gases. An umbilical hernia is not considered a dangerous condition for newborns, however, the doctor should be aware of the problem.
Specialist advice and help may also be needed when diaper rash appears. They tend to appear in the genital area, buttocks, and lower abdomen. The first or mild degree of diaper rash manifests itself in the form of skin redness. The second (medium) degree is characterized by the appearance of erosive formations. The most severe, the third degree of diaper rash, causes the development of ulcers. These conditions cause discomfort, they can be susceptible to infection and are often painful for the baby. A neonatologist can save a child from these troubles.
Tests that a neonatologist can prescribe
In any, even the most severe cases, when congenital malformations and intrauterine infections are found in an infant, examination and research are exclusively entrusted to neonatologists. They know how to draw blood from a newborn, calculate the dose of medicine, or put on an IV.
The need for tests immediately after the birth of a child is dictated by an increase in the number of serious hereditary diseases. To detect and prevent them, the doctor prescribes three main tests, the purpose of which is to determine the blood type, Rh factor and the presence of serious genetic diseases (neonatal screening). Blood is taken from the baby in the maternity hospital. The resulting sample is applied to a test strip and sent to the laboratory. If there is a suspicion of a genetic disease, notification of the child's parents is considered mandatory. This is done for the subsequent appeal to an endocrinological dispensary or medical genetic consultation, and the development of an effective treatment program for the child. In cases where the diagnosis is not confirmed, there is no special notification for the child's parents.
Appointment to a neonatologist
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