Your pregnancy and baby guide
Open all pages about Your pregnancy and baby guide
- Secrets to success
- Am I pregnant?
- Early days
- Week by week
- Preparing for the birth
- Work out your due date
- Tests scans and checks
- Your pregnancy (antenatal) care
- Your health and wellbeing
- Existing health problems
- Common pregnancy ailments
- Pregnancy-induced conditions
Labour and birth
- The start of labour
- The birth
- Emotions and worries
- Premature babies
- How to breastfeed
- Breastfeeding problems
- Lifestyle and breastfeeding
- Bottle feeding
- Newborn screening tests
- Newborn essentials
- New parents
- New mums
- Twins and multiples
Babies and toddlers
- Weaning and solid foods
- Baby health and care
- Spotting signs of serious illness
- Reflux in babies
- How to take a baby's temperature
- Reducing the risk of SIDS
- Treating a high temperature
- Sleep problems in children
- Coughs, colds and ear infections
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Infectious illnesses
- Children's medicines
- Looking after a sick child
- Serious conditions and special needs
- Constipation in young children
- Your baby's height and weight
- Baby health and development reviews
- Leg and foot problems in children
- Learning, play and behaviour
- Safety and accidents
Your newborn baby will be offered some screening tests in their first 6 to 8 weeks.
Newborn screening appointments and vaccinations are continuing as normal, including the:
- newborn blood spot test
- newborn hearing screening test
- newborn physical examination
It's important to go to your appointments unless you, your baby or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus.
Why newborn screening is offered
Most babies are healthy and won't have any of the conditions the screening tests are looking for.
But for those babies who do have a health problem, the benefits of screening can be enormous.
Early treatment can improve their health and prevent severe disability or even death.
The screening tests are quick and simple, and won't harm your baby in any way.
It's recommended that your baby has the tests, but you can decline them if you wish.
Newborn physical examination
Every baby is offered a thorough physical examination soon after birth to check their eyes, heart, hips and, in boys, the testicles (testes).
This is to identify babies who may have conditions that need further testing or treatment.
The examination is carried out within 72 hours of birth and then again at 6 to 8 weeks of age, as some conditions can take a while to develop.
Newborn hearing screening test
The newborn hearing screening test is done soon after your baby is born.
If you give birth in hospital, you may be offered the test before you and your baby are discharged.
Otherwise, it'll be done by your health visitor or another health professional within the first few weeks.
Newborn blood spot (heel prick) test
The newborn blood spot test involves taking a small sample of your baby's blood to screen it for 9 rare but serious health conditions.
When your baby is about 5 days old, a midwife will collect the blood sample by pricking your baby's heel and squeezing out a few drops of blood onto a blood spot card. This is then sent off for testing.
The heel prick may be uncomfortable and your baby may cry, but it's all over very quickly.
Page last reviewed: 04/10/2019
Next review due: 04/10/2022