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If you have your baby in hospital, a paediatrician or possibly even a midwife will give your baby a thorough check-up & examination before you leave the hospital to go home.
In the event you have a home birth, your GP (sometimes midwife) will visit you at home to examine your baby. The doctor or midwife should explain to you what he is doing at every stage of the examination.
Newborn Baby ChecksThe checks that will be done include:
Measuring his weight, length and head circumference again
Examining his skull to check the position of his skull bones
Asking whether he or she has had dirty and wet nappies
Observing his face and neck for any outward signs of abnormalities
Listening to his heartbeat
Listening to his breathing
Feeling his pulse
Feeling inside his mouth to see if he has a cleft palate
Checking his fingers and palms
Gently feeling his abdomen to check the size of his kidneys, liver and spleen
Feeling along his spine for any abnormalities or defects
Checking his feet and ankles
Examining a girl's labia to check that they are not joined together
Examining a boy's testicles to make sure they have both descended
The last test is to check the baby's hips. The doctor will do this by gently bending your baby's knees up to his chest and by rotating his legs slightly.
Doctors tend to leave the 'hip' test till last as most babies have a tendency to cry when this is done. Sometimes the doctor will notice a slight clicking sound, which shows that the ball of bone at the top of the leg is not sitting properly in the socket joint. If this is left unattended it could cause a limp when the baby begins to walk. The treatment for this is usually simple enough; a body splint can be worn for a few weeks. Very rarely, an operation may be needed.
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