Neonatal Terminology

Midwives College of Utah Medical Terminology Course
Referring to the period of time surrounding an infant's birth, from the last two months of pregnancy to the first 28 days of life
Of or relating to the first 28 days of an infant's life
Located or occurring outside the uterus.
The sucking of fluid or a foreign body into the airway when drawing breath.
Generation or production of heat, especially by physiological processes.
The condition called hypoglycemia is literally translated as low blood sugar. Occurs when blood sugar (or blood glucose) concentrations fall below a level necessary to properly support the body's need for energy and stability throughout its cells.
A type of abnormal lung sound heard through a stethoscope. May be sibilant (whistling), dry (crackling) or wet (more sloshy) depending on the amount and density of fluid refluxing back and forth in the air passages.
a continuous snorelike sound in the throat or bronchial tubes, due to a partial obstruction
a decrease in the amount of oxygen delivered to the extremities. The hands and feet turn blue because of the lack of oxygen. Decreased blood supply to the affected areas is caused by constriction or spasm of small blood vessels.
Apgar score
a numerical expression of an infant's condition, usually determined at 60 seconds after birth and then five minutes after birth, based on heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, reflex irritability, and color.
circumoral cyanosis
blueness around the mouth
flea-bite dermatitis
look like flea bites - blanched, wheelike appearance. May have tiny vesicles with small amounts of clear fluid. Rash appears on the diaper area, abdomen, thorax and back. no treatment is necessary: look like flea bites - blanched, wheelike appearance. May have tiny vesicles with small amounts of clear fluid. Rash appears on the diaper area, abdomen, thorax and back. no treatment is necessary
vascular nevi
A birthmark arising either as a developmental abnormality or as a postnatal benign neoplasm of a blood vessel.
port wine stain
Also known as a nevus flammeus. A common congenital vascular malformation involving mature capillaries, ranging from pink (salmon patch) to dark bluish red (port-wine stain) and usually occurring on the face and neck.
Mongolian spots
a smooth, brown to grayish blue nevus, consisting of an excess of melanocytes, typically found at birth in the sacral region in Asians and dark-skinned races; it usually disappears during childhood. May be mistaken for bruising.
In the neonate, it a common occurence when the baby gets cold. There are irregular areas outlined by pinkish or faintly purplish capillary network. Also known as mottling.
Harlequin color
a temporary flushing of the skin on one lower side of the body with pallor on the other side. Commonly seen in normal young infants, it disappears as the child matures.
caput succedaneum
edema occurring in and under the fetal scalp during labor.
A blood cyst, tumor, or swelling of the scalp in a newborn due to an effusion of blood beneath the pericranium, often resulting from birth trauma
Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes do not point in the same direction. It can also be referred to as a tropia or squint.
subconjunctival hemorrhage
A bright hemorrhagic patch on the bulbar conjunctiva caused by rupture and bleeding of a superficial small capillary, due to increased pressure; Occur in newborns as a bright red sickle-shaped hemorrhage at the margin of the cornea and conjunctiva, attributed to abrupt pressure changes over the infant's body during delivery
the term used for a drooping upper eyelid
refers to the drawing in of soft tissues of the chest - you'll see the babys chest suck in between his or her ribs when he/she is in respiratory distress
Nasal flaring
An increase in nostril size with breathing, a sign of respiratory distress
Silverman-Anderson index
A five item system for evaluating breathing of premature infants: 1) chest retraction 2) retraction of lower intercostal muscles 3) xiphoid retraction 4) nasal flaring on inhalation 5) grunt on exhalation. Each one is scored, low is best
Epstein's pearls
Multiple small white epithelial inclusion cysts found in the midline of the palate in most newborns.
Erb's palsy
paralysis of the upper roots of the brachial plexus, caused by birth injury.
a congenital physical anomaly in humans having supernumerary fingers or toes
Webbing or fusion of the fingers or toes, involving soft parts only or including bone structure
a developmental anomaly in which the urethra opens inferior to its normal location; usually seen in males, with the opening on the underside of the penis or on the perineum. On females the urethra opens into the vagina.
congenital absence of the upper wall of the urethra, occurring in both sexes, but more often in the male, with the urethral opening somewhere on the dorsum of the penis
Moro reflex
a normal mass reflex in a young infant (up to 3 to 4 months of age) elicited by a sudden loud noise, such as by striking the table next to the child, or raising the head slightly and allowing it to drop. A normal response consists of flexion of the legs, an embracing posture of the arms, and usually a brief cry
startle reflex
A reflex seen in normal infants in response to a loud noise. The infant with make a sudden body movement, bringing the legs and arms toward the chest
tonic neck reflex
extensions of the arm and sometimes of the leg on the side to which the head is forcibly turned, with flexion of the contralateral limbs; seen normally in the newborn.
A reflex seen in newborn babies, who automatically turn their face toward the stimulus and make sucking (rooting) motions with the mouth when the cheek or lip is touched. The rooting reflex helps to ensure breastfeeding
Babinski reflex
dorsiflexion of the big toe on stimulation of the sole, occurring in lesions of the pyramidal tract, although a normal reflex in infants.
Dubowitz score
A method of clinical assessment in the newborn from birth until five days old that includes neurological criteria for the infant's maturity and other physical criteria to determine gestational age.
Ballard scale
The Ballard Maturational Assessment, Ballard Score, or Ballard Scale is a commonly used technique of gestational age assessment. It assigns a score to various criteria, the sum of all of which is then extrapolated to the gestational age of the baby. These criteria are divided into Physical and Neurological criteria. This scoring allows for the estimation of age in the range of 26 weeks-44 weeks. The New Ballard Score is an extension of the above to include extremely pre-term babies i.e. up to 20 weeks.
square window sign
Part of the Ballard Score; Wrist flexibility and/or resistance to extensor stretching are responsible for the resulting angle of flexion at the wrist. The examiner straightens the infant's fingers and applies gentle pressure on the dorsum of the hand, close to the fingers. From extremely pre-term to post-term, the resulting angle between the palm of the infant's hand and forearm is estimated at; >90°, 90°, 60°, 45°, 30°, and 0°. The appropriate square on the score sheet is selected.
popliteal angle
Another part of the Ballard Score; This maneuver assesses maturation of passive flexor tone about the knee joint by testing for resistance to extension of the lower extremity. With the infant lying supine, and with diaper re-moved, the thigh is placed gently on the infant's abdomen with the knee fully flexed. After the infant has relaxed into this position, the examiner gently grasps the foot at the sides with one hand while supporting the side of the thigh with the other. Care is taken not to exert pressure on the hamstrings, as this may interfere with their function. The leg is extended until a definite resistance to extension is appreciated. In some infants, hamstring contraction may be visualized during this maneuver. At this point the angle formed at the knee by the upper and lower leg is measured.
scarf sign
More to the Ballard Score: This maneuver tests the passive tone of the flexors about the shoulder girdle. With the infant lying supine, the examiner adjusts the infant's head to the midline and supports the infant's hand across the upper chest with one hand. the thumb of the examiner's other hand is placed on the infant's elbow. The examiner nudges the elbow across the chest, felling for passive flexion or resistance to extension of posterior shoulder girdle flexor muscles.
The surgical removal of the foreskin of the penis or prepuce.
an increase in the total cell mass of the blood, excessive red blood cells
literally translated as low blood sugar. Hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar (or blood glucose) concentrations fall below a level necessary to properly support the body's need for energy and stability throughout its cells.
transient tachypnea of the newborn
a respiratory problem seen in the newborn shortly after delivery. It consists of a period of rapid breathing (higher than the average 40-60 times per minute). It is likely due to retained lung fluid, and common in 35+ week gestation babies who are delivered by caesarian section without labour. Usually, this condition resolves over 24-48 hours. Treatment is supportive and may include supplemental oxygen and antibiotics.
esophageal atresia
a congenital medical condition (birth defect) which affects the alimentary tract. It causes the esophagus to end in a blind-ended pouch rather than connecting normally to the stomach
a collection of air or gas in the pleural cavity of the chest between the lung and the chest wall, a hole in a lung(occasionally a result of overdistention of the lungs, caused by improper resuscitation) leading to collapse of the lung
Elevation of the bilirubin level in the blood of the newborn, which results in yellowish staining of the skin and whites of the newborn's eyes. Neonatal jaundice, common, occurring in almost every newborn as hepatic machinery for the conjugation and excretion of bilirubin does not fully mature until approximately two weeks of age.
damage to the brain centers of infants caused by increased levels of unconjugated bilirubin
light therapy, used to treat jaundice
erythroblastosis fetalis
A grave hemolytic disease of the newborn
an abnormal connection or passageway between two epithelium-lined organs or vessels that normally do not connect. It is generally a disease condition, but a fistula may be surgically created for therapeutic reasons.
diaphragmatic hernia
a defect or hole in the diaphragm that allows the abdominal contents to move into the chest cavity. Treatment is usually surgical.
imperforate anus
birth defect in which the rectum is malformed, no anal opening
kangaroo care
a way of holding a preterm or full term infant so that there is skin-to-skin contact between the infant and the person holding it. The baby, wearing only a diaper, is held against the parent's bare chest. Kangaroo care for preterm infants is typically practiced for two to three hours per day over an extended time period in early infancy. With babies who are medically stable, there is no maximum duration for kangaroo care, some parents may keep their babies in-arms for many hours per day.
meconium aspiration
occurs when infants take meconium into their lungs during or before delivery
congenital defect - an opening in the abdominal wall leading to herniation of the abdominal contents through the navel
Protrusion of the membranes that cover the spine but some of the spinal cord itself through a defect in the bony encasement of the vertebral column. The bony defect is spina bifida
the absence of a large part of the brain and the skull
a neurodevelopmental disorder in which the circumference of the head is more than two standard deviations smaller than average for the person's age and sex.
also known as "water on the brain," is a medical condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles, or cavities, of the brain.
Cleft lip/cleft palate
cleft is a fissure or opening—a gap. a type of clefting congenital deformity caused by abnormal facial development during gestation
hip dysplasia
The abnormal formation of the hip joint in which the ball at the top of the thighbone (the femoral head) is not stable within the socket (the acetabulum). The ligaments of the hip joint may also be loose and stretched
Overly large body. A child with macrosomia has significant overgrowth
A yeast infection of the mouth and throat. Thrush can also be associated with yeast infection of the esophagus. Thrush appears as creamy white, curd-like patches on the tongue and inside of the mouth and back of the throat. In individuals with impaired immune systems, yeast infections are more common