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Tests and screening

Newborn examination

The newborn examination is a full 'top-to-toe' check of your baby. This examination, usually performed by your LMC, is both visual and physical.
Your baby will be examined a few hours after birth, at one week, and at around three to four weeks old.
This examination looks for any irregularities in your baby e.g. marks on the skin or problems with baby's hips, heart or lungs.
If your LMC has any concerns, your baby will be referred to your GP or a paediatrician for further review.


Your newborn baby's blood test

A newborn metabolic screening is recommended for all babies. The newborn metabolic screening programme checks for rare disorders. If a rare disorder is picked up early, it can be treated for the best outcome for your baby.

The test is taken at 48 hours after birth or as soon after as possible by a sample of blood from the heel.

Information for this screening programme will be given to you during your pregnancy by your LMC so you can give consent to the blood test being taken and the storage or return of the sample when testing is complete. Sometimes a second sample is requested.

Your LMC will receive a report and notify you of the results within four weeks of your baby's birth.

For more information please refer to the National Screening Unit website().


Newborn hearing screening

Newborn hearing screening is a safe and simple check to find out if your baby hears well. The screen is designed to pick up moderate to profound hearing loss. It may not pick up mild hearing loss.

This test is free and is usually done before you and your baby go home from hospital. If your baby is not born in a hospital or is not screened before you go home, newborn hearing screening will be offered at your local health clinic or hospital outpatients’ clinic. 

For more information visit the Ministry of Health website().


Pulse Oximetry Screening for Congenital Heart Conditions

Pulse oximetry is a simple and painless test that measures the level oxygen is in the blood.

For more information, visit the Healthy Children website().