Health Library

Health Library

Newborn Warning Signs

What warning signs may indicate a problem with a newborn?

Your newborn baby is going through many changes in getting used to life in the outside world. Almost always this adjustment goes well, however there are certain warning signs you should watch for. Some general warning signs with newborns include:

  • Not  urinating (It may be hard to tell, especially with disposable diapers)

  • No bowel movement for 48 hours

  • A rectal temperature over 100.4° F (38° C) or less than 97.5° F (36.5° C)

  • Breathing fast (for example, over 60 breaths per minute) Or a bluish skin coloring that does not go away. Newborns normally have irregular respirations, so you need to count for a full minute. There should be no pauses longer than about ten seconds between breaths.

  • Retractions, or pulling in of the ribs when taking a breath

  • Wheezing, grunting, or whistling sounds while breathing

  • Odor, drainage, or bleeding from the umbilical cord

  • Worsening jaundice or yellowing of the skin on the chest, arms, or legs, or whites of the eyes

  • Crying or irritability which does not improve with cuddling and comfort

  • A sleepy baby who cannot be awakened enough to nurse or bottle feed

  • Signs of sickness (for example, cough, diarrhea, pale skin color)

  • Poor appetite or weak sucking ability

Every child is different, so trust your knowledge of your child and call your child's doctor if you see signs that are worrisome to you.

Newborn Warning Signs - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: Holloway, Beth, RN, M.Ed.
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
© 2014 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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