Common Health Problems

Common Neonatal Conditions And How They Are Treated

Most newborns enter the world in a ‘bouncy’ condition. But some are not always lucky and develop conditions that require immediate diagnosis and treatment. Some diseases develop while the newborn is in the womb, while in other cases, the condition develops during and after birth like Erbs palsy, eczema, e-coli, and meningitis. Newborns are also susceptible to specific illnesses as their immunity is still at its developmental stage compared to older children and adults. Here are common neonatal conditions and their treatments, and how they are treated.


Meningitis is an inflammation of membranes surrounding the spinal cord and the brain. It is a severe illness that leads to death if not treated on time. The disease is caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including E-coli Listeria and GBS. Newborns may pick up these pathogens during birth or their surroundings. Their weak immune systems make them more vulnerable to these pathogens, and the infection symptoms are not specific.  Some of the signs and symptoms to expect include persistent crying, oversleeping, refusal to breastfeed, lethargy, breathing challenges, pallor, jaundice diarrhea, vomiting, and unstable body temperature.

Treating meningitis in children depends on what caused it. Bacterial meningitis is more dangerous, and the doctor may have to perform a lumbar puncture. If detected early, meningitis caused by bacterial and fungal can be treated with antibiotics, while viral meningitis can be treated with antiviral medication.


The listeria monocytogenes is a dangerous bacterium that leads to diseases such as meningitis, sepsis, and pneumonia. People come into contact with the bacteria by eating contaminated food as the bacteria found in soil end up in fruits and vegetables and foods that come from animal products such as dairy products and meat. Fruits and vegetables that are not washed, cooked, or pasteurized well may end up infecting pregnant mothers, who in turn pass the bacteria to newborn babies. In other cases, listeriosis can lead to premature delivery or, worse, stillbirth.

Spinal fluid or blood can help detect the bacteria, and the infected newborn will be treated with antibiotics.

Group B Streptococcal Disease (GBS)

Group B streptococcus is a popular type of bacterium that causes a wide range of infections in newborn babies. The most common include pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis. Newborns generally acquire the bacteria from their mothers during birth as many mothers tend to carry the bacteria in their vagina or rectum. If the mother gives birth without getting treated, they could pass the bacteria to their babies. The symptoms typically appear within the first week from the date of infection, but in some cases, the symptoms could take weeks or months to appear. The most common symptoms include difficulty breathing, high temperature, unusual crankiness, listlessness, and trouble feeding.

Doctors have to run blood tests, take urine and blood cultures, and sometimes take cerebrospinal fluid. They may need to use a spinal needle to perform a lumbar puncture for the cerebrospinal and needles to obtain blood. The urine is obtained using a catheter inserted into the urethra, and the infection can be treated using antibiotics.  The baby may also need to stay in the hospital for easier monitoring of the recovery progress.

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