Routine Tests and Care for Your Baby279
When your baby is born, they will have a quick physical examination to check there are no major problems that need urgent treatment. Within 72 hours of birth, another more detailed examination will be carried out. This includes screening of your baby’s heart, hips and eyes (and testes in boys), plus a general physical examination. The test can be carried out by a baby specialist or specially trained nurse. It doesn’t have to be done before you leave hospital.
Your baby will also have some routine health checks and care.
We all need vitamin K to make our blood clot properly so that we will not bleed too easily. Some newborn babies have too little vitamin K, which can result in a rare bleeding disorder called haemorrhagic disease of the newborn that causes them to bleed dangerously into the brain. To prevent this your baby should be offered an injection of vitamin K. If you prefer that your baby doesn't have an injection, oral doses of vitamin K are available.
Newborn hearing screening
A small number of babies are born with hearing loss. Your baby will be given a quick and simple test to check their hearing. Identifying hearing loss early means that babies and parents can get the support they need and help the development of the child's language and social skills.
Newborn blood spot screening (heel prick test)
When your baby is between five and eight days old, your doctor or nurse will ask to take a sample of blood from their heel. This is used to test for rare but potentially serious illnesses. All babies are tested for phenylketonuria (PKU) – a metabolic disorder; cystic fibrosis; sickle cell disorders; and congenital hypothyroidism – (thyroid hormone deficiency). Some babies are also tested for medium chain acyl dehydrogenase deficiency (MCADD), an inherited problem with metabolism.
Hepatitis B and C
Some people carry the hepatitis B virus in their blood without having any symptoms. If a pregnant woman has hepatitis B she can pass it on to her baby. The baby may not be ill but has a high chance of becoming a carrier and developing liver disease later in life.
All babies born to mothers who are infected with hepatitis B should receive a course of immunisation to prevent them getting hepatitis B.
If you have hepatitis B, your baby will be offered immunisation shortly after birth and at one, two and 12 months old. Your baby should be tested at 12 months to check that immunisation has worked. Find out more about hepatitis B immunisation. If you are infected with hepatitis C when your baby is born, there is a small risk that you could pass on the infection. Your baby will be tested at an appropriate time.