Complications in Newborns

Dr. Shawn O'Connor discusses some of the common complications he sees in newborns and how he helps parents through these difficulties.

What are some common complications you deal with?

Some of the more common complications include congenital heart defects and abdominal wall or bowel defects. Sometimes we get thrown surprises where kids have problems with how their brain controls breathing or muscle movement. These are things that sometimes we're not able to pick up on ahead of time but only find out right when the infants are born.

How do you help parents through this difficult time?

You have to recognize that these are moms and dads who were planning on having a baby nine months after they conceived. They are already planning colleges, marriages, and grandchildren before they're even born, and we have to kind of keep that in perspective when talking to the family. You have to start to build a family with this family. Often times, especially if babies are born very early, the only family that these families know are their hospital family, and so we become part of the crew. We see the ups and downs, and we are a support person for these families.