baby, overdue

Child that has remained in the womb for more than 42 weeks, also termed a post-mature baby. If labour has not started by this time it is often induced because placental function then begins to decline, reducing the child’s supply of food and oxygen. Most of these babies seem thin and desiccated at birth; the skin is dry, and sometimes scaly, and there is no skin lubricant. Nails are long, and the child has a lot of hair. Such children are usually overexcited and restless, sleep little and feed badly. There are often respiratory difficulties. Their lack of nutrition can cause other complications such as blood-sugar deficiency (hypoglycaemia), resulting in convulsions. A post-mature baby needs extra attention, and admission to hospital may be necessary.

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