Testing Times – Newborn Baby Tests
It is that precious moment you keep imagining many times in your mind. Your baby is born and you will finally hold your infant in your arms. However, after the baby’s birth, your pediatrician will need to examine your newborn and run some basic tests. It is therefore best that you discuss these tests beforehand with your doctor, so you are prepared for this brief interlude, when the time comes. Immediately after birth, a pediatrician will conduct a thorough physical examination of your baby to check breathing, behavior, activity, posture and skin color. It takes newborns some minutes to adjust to the changes in the new environment and they often do not need any medical intervention. However, in case the child has difficulty in drawing breaths, the doctor will take necessary steps to stabilize the baby before handing the little one to the mother.Once confident that the child is breathing fine, the pediatrician will next record the weight and measure the circumference of the head, besides checking that the body temperature is normal. A quick test follows to check the newborn’s reflexive responses to touch, sound and light. The doctor will also check the inside of the mouth and put a finger in the mouth to see if the baby can suckle well.Next, the genitalia is examined, along with overall muscle tone, pulse and heart rate. The doctor will count and check the digits on the hands and feet verifying that the newborn is placing the feet and ankles correctly at rest. This helps the doctor negate the presence of clubfoot or other anomalies.
Some Additional Tests
Ultrasound scans might not be able to detect metabolic, developmental or genetic diseases. Only obvious anomalies or physical defects are noticed during this scan. Newborns therefore are suggested screening tests so that the doctor can detect any metabolic disorders.
These days, a blood test is also conducted to rule out any metabolic disorders that can interfere in the proper functioning of the body. This test’s results will help the doctor determine if the newborn has any inherited or congenital medical conditions that need medical attention.
The doctor might conduct a painless hearing test to check your baby’s hearing. In case any anomalies in the heart are detected, your doctor might recommend that your baby go for tests to rule out critical congenital heart defect (CCHD).
Many newborns also suffer from jaundice, which occurs when the bilirubin builds up faster than a newborn’s liver can break it down and pass it from the body. All infants are screened for jaundice these days. In most cases, it resolves by itself within a few days. However, the doctor will keep monitoring the baby’s bilirubin count, because extremely high levels could cause deafness, cerebral palsy, or other forms of brain damage in some babies.
Don’t worry; you don’t need to memorize all these details about your baby’s health. Your doctor will enter this information into a baby wellbeing file, which will be handed over to you upon discharge from the hospital. These test results will not only give your little one a clean bill of health, but will guide you on taking better care of your angel.