What to ex­pect af­ter your baby's birth

Why it is im­por­tant for your new­born to un­dergo reg­u­lar med­i­cal checks

Move! - - CONTENTS - By Atha­bile Mrasi

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.”


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.


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.

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