In the UK, your doctor, midwife, nurse or health visitor will offer a physical examination of your baby within 72 hours of them being born. For most people, this examination takes place in hospital before you’re sent home. But as most of us will not be at our sharpest in the hours after birth (or, let’s be honest, for about the next year...), you might be wondering (or trying to remember) what on earth they actually check your baby for!
The health professional will:
Look into your baby’s eyes with a special torch to check how their eyes look and move. They’re checking for cataracts and other conditions.
Listen to your baby’s heart to check their heart is working as it should. They’ll feel for your baby’s heart and use a stethoscope.
Check the joints of your baby’s hips. About one or two in 1000 babies have developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), which needs treatment to correct.
Check to see if baby boy’s testicles are in the right position. That's whether the testicles have descended into the scrotum as about one in 100 baby boys’ testicles only partially descend.
As always, whether or not you have your baby examined is completely up to you. But it is strongly encouraged. The aim is to spot any potential issues as early as possible, so your bubba can get the best possible treatment.