Question: I heard that most girls get “baby menstruation” at some point during the first two months. Why does this happen?

Answer: When a baby is in the womb, she is exposed to her mother’s oestrogen. After she is born, such hormones in her body rapidly decline, causing a “withdrawal bleed” that is similar to a mini-period. This is completely harmless and normal.

This occurs within the first one to two weeks, most commonly on the fifth day of life in around 25 per cent of girls. You may see a whitish vaginal discharge just before it happens.

Exposure to maternal oestrogen can also cause a benign breast enlargement in both male and female babies, which goes away on its own. But if your baby has prolonged or excessive vaginal bleeding, it is important to ask a doctor to take a look at her, as this may be a sign of an underlying bleeding disorder.

From Young Parents Jul 2009 issue

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