Checks and Screening Tests

Newborn Examination

After your baby is born, a paediatrician, doctor or midwife will give your baby a full check-up. This is often called the ‘Newborn Check’ or NIPE (Newborn Infant Physical Examination). They look at your baby’s eyes, heart, hips, and testicles (if they are a boy). They also see how your baby’s hips move. They usually do these tests within the first 3 days.

The check might be a bit uncomfortable for your baby, but it doesn’t hurt. This check finds problems early so your baby can get help if they need it. If they find something, they might offer more tests.

  • Eyes:
    They look at your baby’s eyes to make sure they’re okay. They’re checking for something called cataracts, which can make it hard to see. But this check doesn’t say how good your baby’s sight is. If needed, they’ll send your baby to the eye doctor at the hospital.
  • Heart:
    They’ll listen and feel your baby’s heart. Sometimes, they hear extra sounds called heart murmurs. Most babies with these sounds are okay. But a few babies, about 1 in 200, need more help for their heart. If needed, they’ll send your baby to the heart doctor at the hospital.
  • Hips:
    They check your baby’s hips. Some babies’ hips aren’t formed right. This is called developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH). If it’s not treated, it can cause problems walking. But only a few babies, about 1 or 2 in 1,000, need treatment for DDH.
  • Testicles (for baby boys):
    They make sure a baby boy’s testicles are where they should be. Testicles start inside the body and usually move down before birth. But sometimes, they don’t come down right away. If they don’t come down, it needs treatment to avoid problems when the boy grows up.

You will be also be offered two screening tests for your baby:

  1. A hearing test
  2. A heel prick blood test

In the first days, the midwife will also see if your baby has yellow skin (jaundice), any infections, or white spots in the mouth.

Hearing Test

Soon after birth, your baby gets a hearing test. This finds out if they might have hearing problems. If your baby was born in the hospital, they might do the test there. If not, it will be in the first few weeks, but no later than 3 months old.

If your baby doesn’t “pass” the first hearing test, they might do it again. Some babies, especially those born through caesarean-section, might not “pass” at first even if they hear fine. If they still don’t “pass”, they will see a hearing expert. But this doesn’t always mean your baby has a hearing issue.

More about the hearing test is on the NHS website.

Heel Prick Blood Test

When your baby is 5-8 days old, they get a small blood test from their heel. This checks for 9 rare health problems, like cystic fibrosis. Most babies don’t have these, but finding out early can be very important. The test is quick, but your baby might cry. Holding and feeding them helps.

You should know the results by the time your baby is 6-8 weeks old. If the test shows something, it doesn’t mean for sure your baby has a problem. They will just get more checks.

More about this blood test is on the NHS website Newborn blood spot test – NHS (

For Early Babies

If your baby was born before 32 weeks, they will be offered an extra thyroid test at 28 days or when they leave the hospital.

More about this is on the British Thyroid Foundation website Congenital hypothyroidism (