Newborn Baby’s Check-ups and Tests

After your baby is born there will be various checks which need to be carried out to ensure your newborn’s health. Being well informed about the various tests and checkups your baby will have can help to relieve any anxieties you may feel at the prospect of such tests and enable you to be prepared with questions or concerns you are likely to have at the time.

Baby‘s tests after birth

Your baby will undergo several tests after he/she is born. Such tests are discussed below:

  • The Apgar test – This is the very first test your baby will have after birth. Your midwife will look at the colour of your baby, their breathing and overall movement. Your midwife will also check how your baby is behaving and will be able to inform you if there are any problems which require further examination.  Most of the time babies pass the Agpar test just fine and your midwife can inform you of the results immediately.
  • Measuring test – Your midwife will measure your baby’s weight and the circumference of their head. These measurements may be recorded in your baby’s development book which is normally a red book given to you by your midwife after the birth.
  • Heel Prick test – The heel prick test is a blood test given to your baby before they are one week old.  A small prick on your baby’s heel will help to identify any blood deficiencies. Heel prick test are also used to check for sickle cell disease, thyroid and cystic fibrosis.
  • Full newborn examination – This is where your baby is tested from head to toe; it normally takes place between 4 to 48 hours after birth. The newborn examination is given by your midwife or doctor. You will have the chance to ask any questions regarding your newborn baby’s development if any problem is identified.

The full newborn examination

Your baby will be tested in different areas to check for any problems which can be sorted as early as possible. The full newborn examination ranges from tests on the head, ears, eyes, mouth, heart, lungs to their genitals. Other areas that will be tested are your baby’s skin, hands, feet, reflexes, spine and hips.

Examination of the: Head

Your doctor or midwife will examine the shape of your baby’s head and assess if there are any marks or bruises from the birth.  Sometimes your baby’s head may appear to be squashed and this normally occurs when you have had an assisted birth through forceps or ventouse. If your baby’s head does appear to be squashed it should sort itself out on its own. In the event that your baby’s head is still affected you can seek further assistance from your doctor who will be able to further advise you.

Examination of the: Mouth

In order to test your baby’s mouth your doctor will place his or her hand onto your baby’s tongue to see if the palate is full. If your doctor finds a gap in the palate may require surgery.  Your baby will also be tested on his tongue to check for a condition called tongue tie which could make it difficult for your baby to move his mouth.

Examination of the: Eyes

Your baby’s eyes will be checked and a light will be shone on your baby’s eyes in order to identify any red refluxes.  The midwife or doctor will be able to further advise you if they find a problem with your baby’s eyesight.

Examination of the: Ears

Many hospitals offer hearing screening tests for babies to identify any hearing problems. The hearing test is offered to all babies and you may be visited by a health visitor regarding the hearing test before you are discharged from the ward.

Examination of the: Heart and Lungs

Your baby’s heart rate will be checked to ensure the presence of a pulse. Your baby has to make more effort to breathe independently now that is in the outside world and their heart rate needs to be checked accordingly to ensure everything is okay; your baby’s lungs will also be checked. A stethoscope will likely be used by the doctor to listen to your baby’s breathing.

Examination of the: Genitals and Skin

Your baby’s genitals will be checked where your doctor will look for abnormal swelling or genitals which appear discoloured or darker. Boy’s genital checks include checking the testes and penis to ensure it is not facing the underside. Parents may be questioned about their baby’s urine and stools. Your baby’s skin may also be checked for pigmentation and birth marks.

Examination of the: Hands and Feet

Your baby’ hands and feet will be counted and your baby’s hands examined to identify palmer creases. Your doctor will inform you if any abnormalities are found and move forward accordingly.

Examination of the: Hips

Your baby’s hips will be checked to identify any clicks in the joints. The doctor may extend your baby’s legs to detect whether there are any potential problems, and further tests may be arranged if your baby has clicking hips.

Examination of the: Spine

Your baby’s spine will be examined to determine the structure and whether or not it is formed correctly.  The doctor may need to arrange further tests if any abnormalities are found.

Checking your baby’s reflexes

Your doctor will check your newborn baby’s reflexes including their ability to grasp and suck. The doctor will also be able to identify if there are any problems with the way your baby’s reflexes.


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