How to conduct a newborn examination
The procedure, what to look for, and how to assess your findings
A neonatal examination can help to identify any health problems that haven’t been evident during pregnancy. It can also reassure parents about any concerns that they have after the birth, and provide an opportunity to share health promotion advice with them.
The examination is most commonly performed by paediatricians, general practitioners (GPs), or midwives. It might also form the basis of a clinical objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) or a work place assessment during paediatric rotations. On any paediatric placement, you should familiarise yourself with the components of the examination by observing and performing it under supervision. Here we provide a guide on how to perform the examination and some of the common findings it might reveal.
Ideally, the first examination should take place 24-72 hours after birth. This allows time for the neonate to adapt physiologically from fetal to neonatal life, increasing the chances of detecting any abnormalities.1 A