The first 72 hours after the birth, a health professional, usually a midwife, but it could be a doctor, will want to give your newborn baby a routine, top to toe hands-on examination.
The new baby top-to-toe assessment is designed to pick up anything that might be untoward at the earliest stage.
The general newborn baby checks are:-
- Baby’s pulse points and reflexes will be checked
- A careful visual examination of your baby’s skin
- They count all the fingers and toes
- General observation of your baby’s wellbeing
Your baby’s eyes are often puffy when they are born, but that is normal. The health professional will want to assess their appearance and position on the head. They will also check for red reflex using an ophthalmoscope.
They will check the baby’s mouth to rule out certain physical defects. They will look inside the mouth and feel the roof of their mouth before going on to check the sucking reflex.
Ears come in all shapes and sizes and your baby’s will be examined to see if they are sitting about the right level and that both are intact and any skin tags are made a note of.
The health professionals will measure your baby’s head circumference and then check for your baby’s soft spots, also known as fontanelles.
This may be a little unsettling as the health professional will make firm pushes and prods to assess the size of your baby’s internal organs.
Newborn heart and lungs
Your baby’s heart will be listened too, and their lungs using a stethoscope to ensure all is as it should be.
Newborn hips and back
Baby’s hips are checked for “clickiness” and this is done by bending them up and gently circling them. They will turn your baby over onto their tummy to check the bones in their back.
The overall shape of your baby’s feet is checked and then they will look for whether the feet are curled or twisted.
A tiny sample of blood from the heel prick is taken (usually in their first week) and tested for some rate but serious metabolic disorders.
Both boys and girls often have swollen genitals are birth. Both are checked to make sure everything is looking and feeling normal.
Read more information about caring for your newborn baby