Most babies are examined right after birth and within about 24 hours after delivery to maked sure that they are born without any major problems.
The very first evaluation done at 1 and 5 minutes after birth is the 5-score Apgar score which helps identify babies that require additional help with resuscitation. In addition, examining the newborn baby shortly after birth before discharge helps the doctor detect birth injuries, cardiorespiratory disorders, and other anomalies,that may compromise a newborn's successful adaptation to extrauterine life.
A detailed examination should also be performed after the newborn has completed the transition from fetal to neonatal life. The examination may begin with an evaluation of the baby's size and weight to ensure he falls within the normal range.
The routine newborn assessment should include:
- Examination for size and weight
- Head size (e.g. macrocephaly or microcephaly)
- Changes in skin color
- Signs of birth trauma
- Evidence of respiratory distress
- Level of arousal, posture, tone, presence of spontaneous movements, and symmetry of movements
- Total and direct bilirubin levels
The presence of one anatomic malformation should prompt an evaluation for associated anomalies. A newborn with one anatomic malformation should be evaluated for associated anomalies.