What are the symptoms of NEC?

The signs and symptoms of NEC can be difficult to diagnose because NEC symptoms are similar to other medical problems that babies may have (like a widespread infection called sepsis). NEC symptoms can also differ in how severe the symptoms are. Some of them include:

  • Swollen, red, grey or tender belly (abdomen)
  • Difficulty feeding or digesting feeding
  • Showing less activity or energy than usual
  • Unstable body temperature (either cold or hot)
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody poop (stools)
  • Vomiting (possibly green in color)
  • More short periods without breathing (apnea) or a decrease in heart rate (bradycardia)

Things to watch for:

  • Blood in dirty diaper
  • Stops breathing (apnea)
  • Heartbeat slows down (bradycardia)
  • Body temperature too low or too high
  • Less active or change in behavior
  • Not digesting feedings well