HOTFLASHES | September 2021

First Newborn Appointment

Your baby should have its first pediatric appointment within 3-5 days of being born, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. This visit will likely take 20-30 minutes, although filling out paperwork and waiting for the doctor may stretch it out a little more. It’s a good idea to bring your partner or a support person if possible. It’s normal to be nervous, but remember that this visit is both empowering and informative for parents. At this first appointment, you can expect:

Neck and Collarbone Check

What Your Doctor Does: Feels along baby’s neckline

When It Happens: Your baby’s first office visit

What He’s Looking For: A broken collarbone. Some babies fracture their clavicle while squeezing through the birth canal. If your pediatrician finds a small bump, that means a break is starting to heal. It will mend on its own in a few weeks. In the meantime, he may suggest pinning the baby’s sleeve across his chest to stabilize his arm so the collarbone doesn’t hurt.

Head Check

What Your Doctor Does: Palms your baby’s head

When It Happens: Every visit for the first one to two years

What She’s Looking For: A still-soft fontanel. Your baby’s head should grow about four inches in the first year, and the two soft spots on her skull are designed to accommodate that. But if the soft spots close up too quickly, the tight quarters can curb, and your child may need surgery to fix it.

Hip Check

What Your Doctor Does: Rolls baby’s hips

When It Happens: Every visit until your baby can walk

What He’s Looking For: Signs of developmental hip dysplasia, a congenital malformation of the hip joint that affects one in every 1,000 babies. “The exam looks completely barbaric,” says Vinita Seru, M.D., a pediatrician in Seattle. “I tell families what I’m doing so they don’t think I’m trying to hurt the baby.” If your pediatrician feels a telltale click from the hips, he’ll order an ultrasound. Luckily, when dysplasia is found early, treatment is simple: The baby wears a pelvic harness for a few months.

Reflex Check

What Your Doctor Does: Startles your baby

When It Happens: The first four visits

What She’s Looking For: A Moro reflex. For her first 3 or 4 months, whenever something startles your infant, she’ll fling her arms out as if she’s falling. It’s an involuntary response that shows your baby is developing normally—and if the response is not there, your baby could have a neurological problem. Your doctor might also check whether your little one grasps a finger or fans her toes after you touch her foot.

Pulse Check

What Your Doctor Does: Presses the skin along the side of baby’s groin

When It Happens: Every visit

What She’s Looking For: A pulse in the femoral artery, which runs up from your baby’s thigh. Your pediatrician wants to see if the pulse is weak on one side, or hard to detect at all, since that may suggest a heart condition. One in 125 babies is diagnosed with a heart defect, and this check is a simple way to screen for problems, says Vinita Seru, M.D., a pediatrician in Seattle. “When a heart condition is caught early it can increase the likelihood of a good recovery.”

Genitalia Check

What Your Doctor Does: Checks your baby’s private parts

When It Happens: Every visit

What He’s Looking For: Normal genitalia. In up to 4 percent of boys, testicles don’t descend into the scrotum before birth. While the problem usually corrects itself by 9 months, your doctor will keep an eye on things to see if your son needs surgical assistance in the future. Your doctor will also rule out signs of infection in a circumcised penis.

In girls, it’s not uncommon to find labial adhesions. Although the labia should open up over time, adhesions will rarely shrink the vaginal opening and make your baby more prone to urinary tract infections. “If we know that they’re there, when your baby has a high fever we look for a UTI first,” says Melissa Kendall, M.D., a pediatrician in Orem, Utah.

In addition to these routine checks, the doctor will also ask about baby’s feeding patterns, digestive system, sleeping patterns, and give you a chance to ask questions. Most vaccines will wait until baby is two months old or older.


Information from

Exercising While Pregnant

When you’re pregnant, it can feel like the list of things you can’t do is never ending, but if you have a healthy, normal pregnancy, exercise isn’t on that list. In fact, exercising while pregnant is associated with benefits like a lower chance of preterm birth, cesarean birth, excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes, and a lower birth weight for baby. It can also help you to reduce lower back pain, reduce stress, and improve postpartum recovery.

However, even though exercise is safe to do during pregnancy, it’s still a good idea to talk to your doctor about what is safe, particularly if you’re new to exercise. There are also other steps you can take to keep safe while exercising, such as:

  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise.
  • Wear supportive clothing such as a supportive sports bra or belly band.
  • Don’t become overheated, especially during the first trimester.
  • Avoid lying flat on your back for too long, especially during the third trimester.
  • Avoid contact sports and hot yoga.

Cardiovascular exercises such as walking, swimming, jogging, and stationary cycling are good options during all three trimesters. Unless your doctor has told you to modify physical activity, you can follow the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week.


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Chicken & Spinach Skillet Pasta with Lemon & Parmesan


  • 8 ounces gluten-free penne pasta or whole-wheat penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, trimmed, if necessary, and cut into bite-size pieces
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 10 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided



Step 1: Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Step 2: Meanwhile, heat oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in wine, lemon juice and zest; bring to a simmer.

Step 3: Remove from heat. Stir in spinach and the cooked pasta. Cover and let stand until the spinach is just wilted. Divide among 4 plates and top each serving with 1 tablespoon Parmesan.


Recipe from