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Physical examination of newborns is a routine medical procedure that is important for every doctor or midwife. This aims to determine whether the newborn is in good he alth or has physical abnormalities or he alth problems
Physical examination of newborns is usually carried out on the first day the baby is born. The examinations carried out included examination of vital signs (heart rate, body temperature, and respiration), length and weight, as well as the baby's organs.
If from this physical examination it turns out that certain abnormalities or diseases are detected in the baby, the doctor or midwife will immediately carry out further examinations and treatments to overcome these conditions.
What are Newborn Physical Examinations?
The following are several types of physical examinations for newborns that a doctor or midwife can perform:
1. Apgar Check
Apgar test or Apgar score can be done immediately after the newborn. This examination includes an examination of skin color, heart rate, reflexes and muscle strength, as well as the baby's breathing. Apgar score is classified as good if the score is more than 7.
2. Check for gestational age, head circumference, and weight
Gestational age examination is carried out using the new Ballard score assessment, with the aim of knowing whether the baby was born prematurely or at term.
3. Anthropometric examination
This examination includes the calculation of the baby's weight, length, head circumference, head shape, neck, eyes, nose and ears. This examination is important to detect whether there are abnormalities in the shape of the head or limbs of the newborn.
4. Oral exam
The next physical examination of the newborn is an oral examination, which includes examination of the gums and palate. This examination is important to do to detect abnormalities, such as cleft lip.
5. Examination of the heart and lungs
In this examination, the doctor will use a stethoscope to determine whether the baby's heartbeat and heart sounds are normal or otherwise. Likewise with a pulmonary examination, the doctor will check the respiratory rate, breathing pattern, and evaluate the baby's respiratory function.
6. Abdominal and genital examination
The examination of the baby's stomach includes the shape, circumference of the abdomen, and examination of the organs in the stomach such as the liver, stomach, and intestines to the anus. Examination of the baby's umbilical cord is also included in this physical examination.
While the examination of the genital organs, the doctor will ensure that the urinary tract is open and in the right location. The doctor will also evaluate the testicles in the scrotum, as well as the shape of the labia and the discharge from the baby's vagina.
7. Spinal exam
This is also one of the most important physical examinations for newborns. The goal is to find out if your baby has a disorder, such as spina bifida or a neural tube defect.
8. Examination of hands and feet
The doctor will check the pulse in each arm of the baby, and make sure his hands and feet can move optimally and have a normal size and number of fingers.
9. Hearing check
Hearing examination aims to detect the presence or absence of hearing loss. To find this out, the doctor will use a tool in the form of otoacoustic emissions (OAE) or automated auditory brainstem response (AABR).
10. Congenital hypothyroid test
This examination aims to detect whether the baby has congenital hypothyroidism. This examination is performed when the baby is 48–72 hours old by taking a blood sample to check thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels.
In addition to the physical examination of the newborn, the doctor or midwife will also provide treatment. Usually the baby will be given eye drops or ointment to prevent infection. Babies should also have their first shot of the hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of birth, as well as a shot of vitamin K to prevent bleeding.
After the physical examination of the newborn, the doctor and midwife will recommend a follow-up physical examination when the baby is around 6–8 weeks old.Don't hesitate to ask the doctor about the results of the examination, so you can find out the he alth condition of your baby.