What to expect after your baby's birth
Why it is important for your newborn to undergo regular medical checks
YOUR baby’s first year can be tricky at times. Every month comes with changes ranging from tiny smiles, teething and eventually, crawling and walking. You might think that visiting the doctor is necessary only when your baby is sick but when it comes to newborns, medical checks should be done regularly.
Lynne Bluff, a registered nurse and midwife from Huggies, says just after birth, or on the next day, a thorough physical examination is done on the baby. This includes babies who are born at home.
“This examination includes specific screening tests to find out if your baby has any problems with their eyes, heart, hips and, in boys, the testicles (testes). This examination is part of the Newborn and Infant Physical Examination (NIPE) screening program,” says Lynne.
“Most babies are born healthy. However, some infants could have serious medical conditions even though they look and act like all newborns. Newborn screening allows health professionals to identify and treat certain conditions before they make your baby sick. Most babies who are treated early are able to grow up healthy with normal development.”
OVERALL LOOK OF THE BABY
Nthabiseng Leso, who is the senior brand manager from Huggies, says the midwife or doctor will want to be sure that the basic shape and proportions of the baby are
normal. She shares some of the things doctors normally look at during checkups. Metabolic screening – The test involves a simple heel prick, yielding a few drops of blood, which is aimed at the early screening, diagnosis and management of selected diseases.
Hands and feet – Fingers and toes will be counted. Sometimes babies have an extra digit. If there is no bone involvement the digit can be tied off at its base with some thread and it will shed itself.
Umbilical cord and heart – The number of blood vessels in the umbilical cord will be counted and the doctor will listen to your baby’s heartbeat and feel the pulse. Eyes and head condition – This is to check the appearance and movement of your baby’s eyes and also check any irregularities in the head.
FIVE MAJOR ADJUSTMENTS AT BIRTH
When babies are born they are removed from the familiar environment of the uterus and must adjust to the world as we know it and function independantly from the mother. Below are some of your baby's first milestones. ■ The baby’s first breath begins even before the umbilical cord is cut. ■ The circulatory relationship between mother and baby stops when the umbilical cord is cut. so the baby must now eat and digest their own food. ■ They must also excrete their own waste. ■ Their own body temperature must be maintained. ■ Food is now only available at certain intervals, so they must adjust to new feeding times.