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Glossary - Normal Newborn

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acne neonatorum (baby acne) - pimples on newborn skin common in the first month.

Apgar test - A scoring system to evaluate the condition of the newborn immediately after birth.

areola - the pigmented (darkened) ring around each nipple.


bilirubin - substance formed when red blood cells break down and are excreted by the liver. Too much bilirubin in the blood causes jaundice.

biotinidase deficiency - an inherited disorder characterized by a deficiency of the biotinidase enzyme needed to metabolize a B vitamin.

bonding - process of falling in love with a newborn baby.

brachial palsy - birth injury to the nerves that supplies the arms and hands.


candidiasis - a fungal (yeast) infection, often in the mouth, called thrush, or in the diaper area.

caput - a severe swelling of the soft tissues of the baby's scalp that develops as the baby travels through the birth canal.

cephalohematoma - an area of bleeding underneath one of the cranial bones that appears as raised lump on the baby's head.

circumcision - a surgical procedure to remove the skin covering the end of the penis.

cleft lip - an abnormality in which the lip does not completely form. The degree of the cleft lip can vary greatly, from mild (notching of the lip) to severe (large opening from the lip up through the nose).

cleft palate - occurs when the roof of the mouth does not completely close, leaving an opening that can extend into the nasal cavity. The cleft may involve either side of the palate. It can extend from the front of the mouth (hard palate) to the throat (soft palate). The cleft may also include the lip.

clubfoot - also known as talipes equinovarus, clubfoot is a foot deformity that is detected at birth. It affects the bones, muscles, tendons, and blood vessels and can affect one or both feet. The foot is usually short and broad in appearance and the heel points downward while the front half of the foot, or forefoot, turns inward. The heel cord (Achilles tendon) is tight. The heel can appear narrow and the muscles in the calf are smaller compared to a normal lower leg.

colic - a condition in an otherwise healthy baby characterized by excessive crying.

cyanosis - a blue coloring of the skin.


developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) - a condition of the hip joint that is congenital (present at birth). The hip joint is created as a ball-and-socket joint. In DDH, the hip socket may be shallow, letting the "ball" of the long leg bone, also known as the femoral head, slip in and out of the socket. The "ball" may move partially or completely out of the hip socket.

diaper rash - an irritation of the skin in the diaper area.


erythema toxicum - a common red rash on the skin of newborns.

eye prophylaxis - eye drops or ointment containing an antibiotic medication that are placed in a newborn's eyes.


facial paralysis - impairment of movement of the muscles of the face due to birth injury.


galactosemia - an inherited disorder in which the baby is unable to metabolize galactose, a milk sugar.

grunting - a sound made by a baby who is having difficulty breathing.


harlequin color change - a normal change in a newborn baby's color due to immaturity of the circulation.

homocystinuria - an inherited disorder caused by a deficiency of an enzyme necessary to digest an amino acid.

hyperbilirubinemia - the build-up of bilirubin in the blood.

hypoglycemia - a condition in which the amount of blood glucose (sugar) is lower than normal.

hypospadias - a birth defect in which the male urethral (urine tube) opening is not located at the tip of the penis.

hypothyroidism - a condition in which the baby is born with too little thyroid hormone.


immunization - vaccine to prevent diseases.


jaundice - a yellow coloring of the skin and/or eyes that is caused by too much bilirubin in the blood.



lactation consultant (IBCLC - International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) - a nurse or other healthcare provider specially trained to help women with breastfeeding.

lanugo - soft, downy hair on a baby's body.


maple syrup urine disease - an inherited disorder caused by an inability of the body to properly process certain parts of protein called amino acids.

meconium - a sticky, greenish-black substance that forms in the intestines during fetal development and is the first bowel movement of a newborn.

milia - tiny, white, hard spots that look like pimples on a newborn's nose.

mongolian spots - blue or purple-colored splotches on the baby's lower back and buttocks common in dark-skinned babies.

Moro reflex - Movement of arms and legs that occurs when a newborn is startled by a loud sound or movement.

moulding - elongation of the shape of a baby's head due to delivery through the birth canal.


neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) - a special care nursery that uses advanced technology and trained health professionals to care for sick and premature newborns.



phenylketonuria (PKU) - an inherited disease in which the body cannot metabolize a protein called phenylalanine.

phototherapy - special lights used to treat jaundice.

port wine stain - a flat, pink, red, or purple colored birthmark.



reflux - when stomach contents back up into the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach).

REM (rapid eye movement) sleep - this is a light sleep when dreams occur and the eyes move rapidly back and forth.

retracting - when the baby is pulling the chest in at the ribs with breathing.

rooming-in - when mothers and newborns remain together in the same room through the hospital stay.

rooting - when a newborn turns his/her head toward touch near the mouth.


sickle cell disease - an inherited disorder that occurs primarily in African-Americans and causes a severe form of anemia.

stork bite or salmon patch - small pink or red patches often found on a baby's eyelids, between the eyes, upper lip, and back of the neck.

strawberry hemangioma - a bright or dark red, raised or swollen, bumpy area on the skin of a baby or child.

subconjunctival hemorrhage - the breakage of small blood vessels in the eyes of a baby.

sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) - the sudden and unexplained death of an infant under 1 year of age.


thrush - a yeast infection in the mouth and throat of babies.

transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN) - a mild respiratory problem of babies, characterized by rapid breathing, that begins after birth and lasts about three days.

tyrosinemia - an inherited disorder that causes severe liver disease in infancy.


umbilical hernia - a weakness in the abdominal muscles.


vernix - a white, greasy, cheese-like substance that covers the skin of many babies at birth.

vitamin K - an essential component of blood clotting produced by intestinal bacteria. Babies normally have low levels of this vitamin.





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