When a baby is born a paediatrician or a midwife will carry out a new born baby examination. This is done in the hours after birth and includes several tests and examinations to ensure that baby is healthy or to identify any areas of concern where further more detailed tests may be necessary.

The doctor or midwife will record baby’s weight and temperature and measure the circumference of baby’s head. They will also check the shape of baby’s head, test their ears and eyes, feel the roof of the mouth and check baby’s sucking reflex. Also checked will be hands, feet, hips, spine and reflexes. Genitals will also be checked, for example to ensure that testes have descended in baby boys.

Baby’s next test is called the heel prick test and this is usually carried out by Community Midwives once baby has returned home. This test can show up a number of conditions such as Cystic Fibrosis and Sickle Cell Disease. Baby will then usually be checked again at 6 to 8 weeks when mum visits her GP for her own 6 week check up.

Community Midwife: Problems can occur when a mother and baby are discharged from hospital into the care of the Community Midwives. Referrals of mother and baby from the acute setting to the community do not always happen when they are required and this can result in mothers and babies not undergoing the post-natal checks that they need.