Trust a mother's intuition, doctors told

11:44AM, Feb 4th 2010

Mother's intuition, that sense of knowing something is wrong without knowing what it is, has long been dismissed as paranoia and an old wives' tale. Now experts are advising GPs that if a parent believes there's something wrong with their child's health, they're usually right.

Mother's intuition, that sense of knowing something is wrong without knowing what it is, has long been dismissed as paranoia and an old wives' tale. Now experts are advising GPs that if a parent believes there's something wrong with their child's health, they're usually right.

New research published in The Lancet medical journal advises doctors to add parent's instinct to a list of signs that they should look for when treating sick children, the UK's Daily Mail reported.

"As a GP, it's important to always be alert to parents who are especially concerned about their child," Dr Matthew Thompson, GP and senior clinical scientists at Oxford University, told the Daily Mail.

"We should usually trust parents' instincts. After all, they will have nursed their child through many minor illnesses before and often can tell when something is different."

Doctors should also trust their own instincts when determining whether a child is seriously ill, the study reported.

"Red flags", including a temperature of over 40°C, rapid breathing, poor circulation at the skin's surface and rashes of small purple and red spots, are all signs that a child has more than a simple cold.

The advice has been released to help doctors identify children with more serious infections, such as meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis which can often have very vague symptoms.

"For doctors, it's a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. Serious infections are rare and getting increasingly rarer thanks to vaccination," Dr Thompson said.

"Identifying that one child out of all those many with minor ailments is difficult. It is complicated further as the child may be seen at any early stage of infection before it is possible to recognise its severity."

The team who conducted the research want to develop a checklist for doctors so that children who are seriously ill are identified and taken to hospital sooner.

"Doctors should routinely check for these warning signs in every sick child they see. For example, not all GPs will check a child's temperature, whereas we would now suggest this is done on all occasions," said Dr Ann Van den Bruel, a co-author of the Oxford University study.

"Parents shouldn't try to assess these red flags themselves, it would only add to any uncertainty or anxiety they may already be feeling. However, parents can take heart that we found they are very good at picking up signs that their child is unwell."

Have you ever just known there was something wrong with your child? Share your story below.

comments powered by Disqus

Related articles

 
 
instagram
  • Let's turn that frown upside-down, baby Mack! This little dude is our Babe of the Day @katymcmillan. 
Share your babe's #everydaymoments and tag @motherbaby_au for your chance to have them featured as our #MBbabeoftheday

    mother and baby Let's turn that frown upside-down, baby Mack! This little dude is our Babe of the Day @katymcmillan. Share your babe's #everydaymoments and tag @motherbaby_au for your chance to have them featured as our #MBbabeoftheday

    More from the team
  • Gingerbread House Cookies! Get your bake on this weekend and make these delicious festive treats with your kids! Visit motherandbaby.com.au and search "gingerbread houses" to find the recipe #mandbxmas

    mother and baby Gingerbread House Cookies! Get your bake on this weekend and make these delicious festive treats with your kids! Visit motherandbaby.com.au and search "gingerbread houses" to find the recipe #mandbxmas

    More from the team
  • Need some help to find a dress to get you through Christmas and New Years? @mamastylista shares some awesome tips for mum-friendly party dresses. Visit motherandbaby.com.au and search "mama stylista" to have a look!

    mother and baby Need some help to find a dress to get you through Christmas and New Years? @mamastylista shares some awesome tips for mum-friendly party dresses. Visit motherandbaby.com.au and search "mama stylista" to have a look!

    More from the team
  • This gorgeous boy is our Babe of the Day! Congrats @angieduclos #everydaymoments #MBbabeoftheday

    mother and baby This gorgeous boy is our Babe of the Day! Congrats @angieduclos #everydaymoments #MBbabeoftheday

    More from the team
  • So. Much. Love!
  • Looking to get your craft on this Chrissie? We've got 6 easy DIY projects to help decorate your house this Christmas. Visit motherandbaby.com.au and search "DIY Christmas" #MandBXMAS #christmas

    mother and baby Looking to get your craft on this Chrissie? We've got 6 easy DIY projects to help decorate your house this Christmas. Visit motherandbaby.com.au and search "DIY Christmas" #MandBXMAS #christmas

    More from the team
  • Radio presenter, @jackieo_official has created this Frozen ice castle masterpiece for her daughter, Kitty's birthday cake. To get the recipe visit motherandbaby.com.au and search "frozen cake".

    mother and baby Radio presenter, @jackieo_official has created this Frozen ice castle masterpiece for her daughter, Kitty's birthday cake. To get the recipe visit motherandbaby.com.au and search "frozen cake".

    More from the team
  • Look at this happy chappy! He just heard that he is our "Babe of the Day"! Congrats lil dude, you make us smile on a tense day @mrs_z_xoxo

Do you think your cherub has what it takes to be the next Babe of the Day? Show us your #everydaymoments and tag us @motherbaby_au

    mother and baby Look at this happy chappy! He just heard that he is our "Babe of the Day"! Congrats lil dude, you make us smile on a tense day @mrs_z_xoxo Do you think your cherub has what it takes to be the next Babe of the Day? Show us your #everydaymoments and tag us @motherbaby_au

    More from the team
  • Still looking for gift ideas for your hubby? Motherandbaby.com.au has 20 great ideas for men this Christmas. Search "Christmas Dads" to see the full list #MandBXMAS

    mother and baby Still looking for gift ideas for your hubby? Motherandbaby.com.au has 20 great ideas for men this Christmas. Search "Christmas Dads" to see the full list #MandBXMAS

    More from the team
  • Do you agree? Our babies are so very precious #motherandbaby

    mother and baby Do you agree? Our babies are so very precious #motherandbaby

    More from the team