What tests will my baby have?

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Within the first day or so, your baby will have a 24-hour check. If you leave hospital quickly, your GP will come to your home to do this. The test is a thorough top-to-toe check, and looks at the following:
  • Weight, length and head circumference: These measurements will give you a starting point for plotting your baby's growth over the next months and years.
  • Eyes, ears and mouth: The doctor will check for any obvious hearing or sight problems, and for things like cleft palate or tongue-tie (where the tissue joining the tongue to the floor of the mouth restricts movement of the tongue).
  • Heart and lungs: The doctor will listen to your baby's heartbeat to check for irregularity or murmurs, and to his breathing.
  • Spine: Your baby's spine will be checked for straightness, and his legs given a wiggle to rule out clicky hips (where the hip joint is too loose and the thigh bone dislocates itself).
  • Hands and feet: These will be looked over to check for webbing and talipes (club foot).
  • Genitals: Baby boys will be examined to see if both testicles have descended and that the hole where wee comes out is at the end, not round the side. The doctor will also check your baby's bottom and ask if he's done a poo yet.
  • Your newborn may also have a separate hearing check, using a small machine that tests how an echo is bounced off the inside of the ear.
  • Within the first week, your midwife will give your baby a heel prick test, which involves taking a small amount of blood from his heel using a tiny needle. The blood will then be tested for enzyme or thyroid deficiencies and, in some areas, for cystic fibrosis.

Your midwife will visit you at home for the first 10 days after the birth, so this is the time to raise any concerns you may have about either your health or your baby's.

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Over to you

After such a busy beginning, your baby can really start to enjoy settling in to his new world. It's also the perfect time for you to spend time bonding and getting to know your child. Enjoy!

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