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What are signs of abnormal development in a 6 month old child?

Q: My son is 6 months old and has been, thus far, achieving his milestones in time. Two days after he was born (by caesarean section), the nursing staff in the nursing home mentioned to my wife that our son had breathing difficulties immediately after birth and apparently, it was quite a while before he had taken in his first breath, assisted by oxygen and suction tube administered by the neonatologist. When we sought information from the Obstetrician and the Neonatologist, independently, both were unanimous in saying that although our child had indeed had a respiratory problem on birth, it was a temporary trauma faced by the child after birth (on coming out of the cosy comfort of his mothers womb into a big, bad world was how the Obstetrician had put it!), which would not be of any further significance in the future. The matter ended there. Yesterday, we had taken our child to another paediatrician for an unrelated problem. He examined our child and asked us if there had been any delay in his taking the first breath after birth, although adding almost in the same breath that there was no problem with our child. This has caused my wife and me some concern since we are not quite sure as to what observation may have prompted the good doctor into asking such a question. My question is, what may be the implications of a delayed first breath and how can any such resulting problem manifest in a child? What may be the red flags that we, as parents, should be aware of?

A:Red flags for 6 month old child are:

  • Has not attained head control
  • Does not roll over from supine to prone and vice versa
  • Does not hold a toy or take it to mouth
  • Does not turn head to sounds or respond when called by name
  • Does not make any sound
  • Does not make eye contact
  • There is squint, specially if it was not there earlier
  • Does not laugh aloud some times
  • Does not respond to name, or recognise mother / other family members
  • Limbs are stiff or limp when changing napkin
  • Does not bear weight on legs when made to stand by holding at both axilla
  • There is fisting of hands A detailed neuro developmental examination of your child may be done. Some children may have problems even if pregnancy was normal, and most newborns with problem, may be perfectly normal. However all infants even if normal looking should have at least three visits to doctor/health facility to check for problems, for some can be treated by early therapy.

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