My name is Stephanie Michaelides, and I’m part of the committee that set up the standards for examination of the newborn.
The first thing that happens is, we make the mother comfortable to discuss things and talk to her on a one to one. It’s vital that mother is given privacy to give us the information that we require.
“Hello! Hello my little friend.”
Babies are human beings and they need comfort, they need to hear the human voice to know that they aren’t frightened. If you make sure they recognise that you know what you’re doing, then they respond very well to you and they allow you to fully examine them.
The baby when it comes out, has no history whatsoever. This examination starts to form the history that the baby will carry on having.
“You’re still sleepy aren’t you? Bored with life? I don’t blame you, there’s nothing that interesting.”
The key things are mainly looking at the eyes, the heart and the hips of the baby. Whilst the baby is inside the womb the heart works very differently. It can now breathe and the lungs take over from the placenta.
No lumps or bumps, nice soft hair, bit sticky but we won’t worry about that. Two eyebrows, his eyes are closed so we’ll have a look at them a bit later on; maybe he’ll wake up by the end of the examination. His nostrils are present and he’s got no nasal flaring, appropriate function, nice pink lips, appropriate sized chin.
The best way to find out whether your child is warm or not is to check his arms or legs in comparison to his tummy, and he feels nice and warm. If his arms or his legs feel cold, colder than his tummy, then it means that he feels quite cold.
Your arms are nice and strong, two creases. No infection of the fingernails, no webbing. 4 fingers and a thumb.
“Oh look he’s showing me, isn’t that lovely, thank you.”
The hips examination begins by looking at the baby overall. we stretch them and we look at the creases, and the creases are equal as well. And we turn the baby over and look at the spine, as the spine may highlight an issue with the hips.
“You see how his hips are coming up automatically when he sits on his front?”
We look at the baby’s thighs, that they’re symmetrical. Thumb on the inner aspect of the thigh. If they’re not symmetrically correct with each other, it may show that one hip is shorter than the other.
We’ve done the examination from head to toe and we are very happy with him today. If he carries on as he is today then we are exceptionally happy. Although today’s baby had perfectly stable hips, it does not mean that at 6-8 weeks those hips will be just as stable. It’s just as important for the mother to be aware of that, and not think this is a tick tick box and my baby has been checked and they’re ok and I don’t have to worry. She needs to know that if the baby changes colour, or doesn’t behave the way it behaved today; she knows to ask for help really.
This video explains the newborn baby checks that are carried out within 72 hours of birth by a healthcare professional. These checks take a head to toe look at the baby to check for any problems or health conditions which might need further monitoring, investigation or treatment. The examination is repeated at 6-8 weeks as some conditions can develop later.
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