safe motherhood


When to get medical help

The following are signs that your baby may be ill:

• Off their feed — less than half their normal intake over the past 24 hours;
• Persistent vomiting;
• A fast breathing rate, especially if it is noisy and has come on suddenly;
• Less than four wet nappies in the last 24 hours;
• Irritability;
• Blood in the bowel motions or urine;
• A persistent, unusual cry;
• Listlessness or floppiness;
• A skin rash.

Always call the doctor or midwife if you are worried.

Parents are often especially anxious about meningitis. The signs to watch out for are:

• Neck stiffness;
• Bulging fontanelle — the soft spot on top of your baby’s head;
• Pale, floppy body;
• He or she does not show signs of being alert;
• A purple rash;
• A high-pitched moaning cry.

Although meningitis often hits the headlines, it’s not terribly common. It is a serious disease, but can be treated if caught in time.

See: ‘Baby health/my baby has a temperature.’

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