Principle and Practice of Post-natal Baby Check for General Practice: A Mini Review

Document Type : Mini Review


Department of Pediatrics, Altnalgevin Area Hospital, Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK


A post-natal baby check is a comprehensive, head-to-toe clinical examination performed routinely within 72 hours of birth in the hospital and by a general practitioner (GP) in the community 6-8 weeks following delivery. It serves as an opportunity for continuity of care and coincides with the time of the baby’s first set of vaccinations at eight weeks, which is often when babies are seen by a GP. The aim of this review is to describe the important elements of infant baby check and physical examination at 6-8 weeks in the context of evidence-based guidelines. Some abnormalities that are not visible at 72 hours after birth can become apparent at the 6-8-week post-natal baby check, and this is a valuable opportunity for further care through establishing an effective and efficient partnership with the baby and the mother. A satisfactory and skillful physical examination of an infant is reassuring and valued by the parents.


  1. Jackiewicz S. Evaluation of Family Partnerships Training in Western Australia 2001–2003. Telethon Institute for Child Health Research. Accessed April 6, 2012.
  2. Shonkoff JP, Richter L, van der Gaag J, Bhutta ZA. An integrated scientific framework for child survival and early childhood development. Pediatrics. 2012;129(2):e460-472. doi:10.1542/peds.2011-0366.
  3. Felitti VJ, Anda RF, Nordenberg D, et al. Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. Am J Prev Med. 1998;14(4):245-258. doi:10.1016/S0749-3797(98)00017-8.
  4. Public Health England (PHE). Newborn and infant physical examination screening programme handbook—2016/17. London: PHE; 2016. attachment_data/file/572685/NIPE_programme_handbook_2016_ to_2017_November_2016.pdf.
  5. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Routine postnatal care of women and their babies. CG37. London: NICE; 2006.
  6. Darmstadt GL, Baqui AH, Choi Y, et al. Validation of a clinical algorithm to identify neonates with severe illness during routine household visits in rural Bangladesh. Arch Dis Child. 2011;96(12):1140-1146. doi:10.1136/archdischild-2011-300591.
  7. Hall DMB, Elliman D. Health for all children; Joint working party on child health surveillance. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2003.
  8. Metry DW, Hebert AA. Benign cutaneous vascular tumors of infancy: when to worry, what to do. Arch Dermatol. 2000;136(7):905-914. doi:10.1001/archderm.136.7.905.
  9. Comi AM. Update on Sturge-Weber syndrome: diagnosis, treatment, quantitative measures, and controversies. Lymphat Res Biol. 2007;5(4):257-264. doi:10.1089/lrb.2007.1016.
  10. O’Connor NR, McLaughlin MR, Ham P. Newborn skin: Part I. Common rashes. Am Fam Physician. 2008;77(1):47-52.
  11. Lissauer T. Physical examination of the newborn. In: Martin RJ, Fanaroff AA, Walsh MC, eds. Fanaroff and Martin’s Neonatal- Perinatal Medicine: Diseases of the Fetus and Infant. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders/Elsevier; 2011:485. doi:10.1016/B978-0-323-06545-0.00036-4.
  12. Sniderman A. Abnormal head growth. Pediatr Rev. 2010;31(9):382- 384. doi:10.1542/pir.31-9-382.
  13. Bell AL, Rodes ME, Collier Kellar L. Childhood eye examination. Am Fam Physician. 2013;88(4):241-248.
  14. Cheng KP, Hiles DA, Biglan AW. The differential diagnosis of leukokoria. Pediatr Ann. 1990;19(6):376-383, 386. doi:10.3928/0090-4481-19900601-07.
  15. Red reflex examination in neonates, infants, and children. Pediatrics. 2008;122(6):1401-1404. doi:10.1542/peds.2008-2624.
  16. Guercio JR, Martyn LJ. Congenital malformations of the eye and orbit. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2007;40(1):113-140, vii. doi:10.1016/j.otc.2006.11.013.
  17. Myer CM 3rd, Cotton RT. Nasal obstruction in the pediatric patient. Pediatrics. 1983;72(6):766-777.
  18. Hengerer AS, Brickman TM, Jeyakumar A. Choanal atresia: embryologic analysis and evolution of treatment, a 30-year experience. Laryngoscope. 2008;118(5):862-866. doi:10.1097/MLG.0b013e3181639b91.
  19. Mueller DT, Callanan VP. Congenital malformations of the oral cavity. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2007;40(1):141-160, vii. doi:10.1016/j.otc.2006.10.007.
  20. Fisher DM, Sommerlad BC. Cleft lip, cleft palate, and velopharyngeal insufficiency. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2011;128(4):342e-360e. doi:10.1097/PRS.0b013e3182268e1b.
  21. Forlenza GP, Paradise Black NM, McNamara EG, Sullivan SE. Ankyloglossia, exclusive breastfeeding, and failure to thrive. Pediatrics. 2010;125(6):e1500-1504. doi:10.1542/peds.2009-2101.
  22. Clinical practice guideline: early detection of developmental dysplasia of the hip. Committee on Quality Improvement, Subcommittee on Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip. American Academy of Pediatrics. Pediatrics. 2000;105(4 Pt 1):896-905. doi:10.1542/peds.105.4.896.
  23. Brown J, Schwartz RA. Supernumerary nipples: an overview. Cutis. 2003;71(5):344-346.
  24. Pinsker JE. Clinical review: Turner syndrome: updating the paradigm of clinical care. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012;97(6):E994-1003. doi:10.1210/jc.2012-1245.
  25. Nakayama DK, Rowe MI. Inguinal hernia and the acute scrotum in infants and children. Pediatr Rev. 1989;11(3):87-93. doi:10.1542/pir.11-3-87.
  26. Lao OB, Fitzgibbons RJ Jr, Cusick RA. Pediatric inguinal hernias, hydroceles, and undescended testicles. Surg Clin North Am. 2012;92(3):487-504, vii. doi:10.1016/j.suc.2012.03.017.
  27. Ben-Sira L, Ponger P, Miller E, Beni-Adani L, Constantini S. Low-risk lumbar skin stigmata in infants: the role of ultrasound screening. J Pediatr. 2009;155(6):864-869. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.06.003.
  28. Sureshbabu R, Kumari R, Ranugha S, Sathyamoorthy R, Udayashankar C, Oudeacoumar P. Phenotypic and dermatological manifestations in Down Syndrome. Dermatol Online J. 2011;17(2):3.