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Health checks and screening tests for your newborn: Need-to-know information

Many tests are performed on babies in the first few days of their lives, starting as soon as immediately after they are born. You may wonder: What are these tests? What are the doctors looking for? Are such tests needed?

newborn screening

You may notice your newborn being taken for newborn screening tests from the time he is born.

Your concerns are as valid as the tests are necessary.  But rest assured that these tests cause little pain, if any at all, to your precious little one. Such tests are routine and are essential in ensuring your baby is well and healthy.

The tests can help detect any abnormalities that may not apparent just by looking at the baby.

newborn screening

Newborn screening tests will be done both in your hospital room and in the nursery.

Tests done immediately after birth

Apgar scoring
In the first minute after your baby is born he will do the first grading test of his life! In the Apgar score test, five factors are used to evaluate the baby’s condition. The five factors are:

1. Appearance (skin colour)
2. Pulse (heart rate)
3. Grimace response (reflexes)
4. Activity (muscle tone)
5. Respiration (breathing rate and effort)

Each factor is given a score on a scale of 0 to 2, with 2 being the best score. The scores for each of the 5 areas are then combined to obtain a total grading out of a possible score of 10. A perfect score of 10 is possible but rare.

Five minutes later, the Apgar test is repeated. Babies usually get a higher score in the second test because their overall condition tends to improve.
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