Gentle Births and Beyond 

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Examination of the newborn

The examination of the newborn screening is a physical head to toe examination of your newborn baby. This examination is required to be performed within 72 hours of birth. If you gave birth in hospital then the paediatrician or a practioner who has been appropriately trained will have performed this examination for your baby. However if you left the hospital before this examination was performed or you gave birth at home, then I can visit your home in order to complete the full examination of your baby. 

The following specific areas are included and assessed to ensure your baby's well being at the time of being examined:

  • Heart - carried out by observing your baby, noting how well s/he feeds, feeling the pulses and listening to the heart. Further tests may be necessary. Around 1 in 200 babies have a heart problem that requires treatment.
  • Hips - if your baby is born with hip joints not properly formed then, left untreated, this could cause a limp and joint problems. Each hip will be carefully examined. Further investigation may involve an ultrasound scan of the hips. About 1 or 2 in 1,000 babies have hip problems that require treatment.
  • Eyes - carried out by using an ophthalmoscope (special torch) to check the movement and appearance of your baby's eyes. Such checks help to identify cataracts and other conditions. About 2 or 3 in 10,000 babies have problems with their eyes that require treatment.
  • Testes - your baby boy will be examined to check that his testes are in the right place. Testes can descend into the scrotum on their own accord but it can take a number of months for this to happen. If this does not happen by a year old, then an operation, at one to two years may be advised. About 1 in 100 baby boys have problems with their testes that require an operation.

All findings will be documented in your baby's red book and any concerns will be referred for further assessment, investigation or treatment. The examination is performed again between 6-8 weeks, this can be done via your GP or I can perform another examination for you at this time. 

(Source: National Screening Committee 2015)