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Tests the newborn needs


Keeping the baby healthy should start the moment he is born. Below are tests that ensure that your baby grows strong, healthy and you the parent have little or no cause to worry.

Yes, look at that cute baby in that milk advert blowing her own trumpet from the billboards we see across Lagos, “Look at me, I am strong and healthy.”

That child could not be a day older than five years, but look at her, strong, shiny dark skin, rounded cheeks puffed out as she blows away on her trumpet; very strong baby. Below are ways you could give your baby the early start she/he needs, the important tests that you should ask for:

The baby’s weight is taken immediately after birth-bodily, length, the soft spot on the top of the head or frontanelle as it is called. The circumference of the baby’s head will also be recorded. The average weight of a newly born is 3.4kg with a circumference of 35cm and a body length of 50cm. His growth should be compared against these figures throughout the period of infancy.

Eye Test
This should be done within three days of birth. The position and appearance of the eyes are checked with an ophthalmoscope. The tests will show any defects like cataracts, or any serious eye problem or infections.

Vitamin K
This is done after birth. Many babies are said to be born without sufficient amount of Vitamin K. When it is not enough, it could result to internal bleeding if there is an injury. A baby is given a shot after birth.

Baby’s hearing should be checked within 24 hours or one month after birth. The matron carries out the test by placing a small soft-tipped earpiece inside baby’s ears. The earpiece gives off a clicking sound that is meant to send a signal to the inner ear. This is the test which determines if a child is born with some hearing loss in one or both ears. Most babies pass the test, although some studies say that about two babies out of every 1,000 are born with some hearing loss.

Reflex Test
Baby is ready to stand this test after about three days of birth. Part of the reflex check is her ability to grasp, suck and swallow. At the hospital where the test should be done, they will check the sucking reflex by the matron placing a gloved hand into the baby’s mouth; the most popular is the Moro test where the matron gently allows baby’s head to fall a short distance. When this is done, baby has passed the reflex test if he flings out both arms with fingers uncurled.

The Apgar Test
The Apgar test is done within five minutes of birth. Your baby will be scored between zero and two in five areas; the skin colour, heartbeat, reflex, muscle tone and breathing. If the score is between five and seven, the child may need the help of birth matron to start breathing. If the score is below five, the paediatrician will need to look at him.

Spine and Hip
The spine and hip test is done within 72 hours of birth. Baby’s spine will be examined thoroughly to rule out the possibility of birth injury. However, a deep dimple above the bottom may indicate that there is a problem with the lower spinal cord. The hospital would look for weakness in the leg and urinary incontinence. The legs will be manipulated to make sure that there is no congenital dislocation of the hip.

Heart and Lungs
The heart and lungs should be checked within three days. A few minutes after he has made his entrance, the matron will monitor baby’s breath and check the heart with a stethoscope. The lungs will be checked to make sure that they contain no fluids and are working.

Genital Test
The baby boy’s scrotum is checked for undescended testes and the penis examined to make sure that the opening is at the tip, not under. The girl may have a whitish or slightly bloody vaginal discharge, which is caused by exposure to the mother’s hormones. The hormones although are no threat to health, may also cause the boy’s genitals to swell.

Skin Check
The skin is tested when baby is just three days old. The test is carried out to see if baby has some birth- marks. In many instances, birthmarks fade or disappear completely as baby grows.

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