After your baby is born, you’ll spend some time holding him to your chest, and getting to know him, but within the first few hours, bub will be taken for a couple of tests and examinations to make sure he’s healthy and well.
The first test is called the AGGAR score, which assesses whether or not your baby has any urgent medical issues that need to be addressed. The score will be recorded one minute after your baby is born, and again after five minutes, and involves the midwife watching bub’s colour, breathing, behaviour, activity and posture.
Soon after, your baby will be weighed, have his temperature checked and his head circumference measured, and the results will be included in his personal health record for you to monitor after leaving the hospital.
After birth, your baby will be given a Vitamin K injection which helps the blood to clot and prevents serious bleeding. These injections can prevent a rare, but deadly, bleeding disorder called Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding, also known as Haemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn.
48 hours after your baby’s birth, he will be given a complete examination by either a paediatrician or a midwife. You and your partner will be in the room at the time, allowing you to ask any questions as you go.
The doctor will look at the shape of your babies head, his ears and eyes.
Shortly after your baby’s birth, you’ll most likely be offered a hearing test, which is often done by your bedside. It’s simple and pain free. In fact, many babies sleeping throughout the process!
Your doctor or midwife will check the roof of bub’s mouth to ensure his sucking reflex is working and that the palate is complete. They’ll also check for tongue-tie.
Your baby’s heart will be checked to exclude heart murmurs. If a heart murmur is detected, further investigations will most likely take place. But don’t worry, heart murmurs are relatively common and often disappear by themselves.
Your doctor or midwife will need to confirm that clear and equal air is entering both your baby’s lungs. They’ll do this by listening to her breathing patterns using a stethoscope.
When your baby is first born, her genitals may look swollen or darker in colour. This is because of the hormones bub was exposed to before birth, which can also cause engorged breasts on babies of either sex.
Your doctor will check baby boys for undescended testes and to make sure the opening of the penis is in the right spot.
Bub’s bottom will also be checked to ensure everything is normal.
Your doctor will check over your baby’s skin and take note of any birth marks, such as stork marks, mongolian spots or strawberry marks.
Bub’s fingers and toes will be counted and checked for webbing, palms will be checked to see if two creases, called palmar creases, run across them. Single palmar creases are are sometimes linked to Down syndrome, though this outcome is unlikely without other symptoms.
Your doctor will also check bub’s feet and ankles for talipes, or clubfoot.
The straightness of your baby’s spine will be assessed for straightness, and the doctor will also check for a tiny dimple at the base of the spine, called a sacral dimple. These are generally not a problem, however a deep sacral dimple may indicate an issue with the lower part of your baby’s spinal cord, so she would be further checked for other symptoms such as leg weakness, cold and blue feet, and incontinence.
Your doctor will gently move baby’s hips to check the stability of his hip joints.
Your baby will be offered a heel-prick test, also called a Newborn Screening Test, which checks for rare genetic disorders.
A midwife will carry out this test between 48 and 72 hours after your baby is born, by taking a few drops of blood from bub’s heel which will be sent away for testing.
Blood will be tested for::