Pronounced "AY-crow-sigh-a-NO-sis." Newborns have very thick blood with a high level of red cells. A healthy adult might have a hematocrit - the volume percentage of red cells in the bloodstream - of perhaps 45 per cent. A newborn might have a hematocrit of 58 to 60 percent - a third more blood cells by volume per unit of whole blood. This is one of the adaptations of the fetus to intrauterine life. When blood flow through the low pressure veins from an extremity of a newborn is restricted, the amount of deoxygenated hemoglobin can quickly increase to greater that 5 grams per 100 milliliters of blood, and the arm or leg will turn dark blue (cyanosis). This can happen for no other reason than the baby's arm was folded up under him and the vein in the elbow was partially kinked off. This phenomenon is harmless. It is easy to reassure yourself - simply straightening the limb will restore its normal pink color.

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