Routine Birth Check

What Are The First Things To Happen After My Baby's Is Born?

Following birth, the Midwife will carry out a quick Routine Birth Check called the Apgar Score, to see how well your newborn baby is physically and if extra medical care is needed.

The baby's Apgar Score is recorded at one minute and at five minutes after birth, and it assesses the following:

A – Appearance - skin colour
P –  Pulse - heart rate
G – Grimace response – reflexes
A – Activity - muscle tone
R – Respiration - breathing rate


A total score is out of 10, 7 and over is considered normal; below 7 needs observation and maybe treatment.

An entire body examination will be given along side this, taken in to account how the delivery was and any medical assistance given.

Here is a short video to show what the first things that will happen after your baby is born


Why is This Necessary? 

* Baby's Head - The head is squeezed through the birth channel first and this may cause some mis-shapeing - this will recover in the following days and weeks. The soft spot on the crown of the skull - the fontanelle is the space left around the plates of the skull which allowed the head to pass through the both cannel. It maybe alarming to see the a throbbing motion under the skin this is normal and will disappear as the skull bones fuse together over the coming weeks. Baby's ears, eyes, neck, shoulders will be felt and looked at for any obvious abnormalities.

Baby's Mouth - The midwife will put a finger in your baby's mouth to check that the roof (the palate) is complete, the tongue is sitting in place and the sucking reflex is working. 

Baby's Skin - The skin is thin and easily damaged - there maybe some bruising fro delivery. Sometimes it can appear yellowy which is mild jaundice. This will disappear as your baby is exposed to light. If it is of concern, a session under ultra violet light is all that is needed. There maybe other marks and spots to be noted too - birth marks, strawberry marks and stork marks (reddish or purple V-shaped marks on the back of the neck). Also Mongolian spots (a bluish patch of darker pigment around the base of the spine around the bottom)

Baby's Breast, Genitals and Bottom  - These can appear swollen and dark in colour due to the mother's hormones being passed to the baby before birth. Any swelling will gradually disappear in the coming weeks. Baby's bottom will be checked to ensure the passage is open. The meconium (first poo) should be passed by 24 hours after birth.

Baby's Hands and Feet -These will be counted and checked for webbing. The palms checked for 2 creases - palmer creases. One palmer crease indicates possible Down's syndrome but there would be more obvious signs. The feet checked for clubfoot (talipes)   where the feet turn in and down.

Baby's Spine, Hips and Legs - The midwife will run her fingers down the spine to check it is straight . Also check the sacral dimples at the  base of the spine. The legs will be gently moved in a circular motion, bent and widened to check hip joint rotation.                                          

Baby's Reflexes - The reflexes (inbuilt survival responses) can be checked such as sucking, grasping, moro -(baby's arms are suddenly shot out with hands outstretched) as the midwife is going through her examination. Walking reflex may following the hip check. 

During the check your baby will be given a routine Vitamin K injection (needed for blood clotting) this is a preventative measure against the risk of haemorrhagic disease (a rare bleeding disorder in babies).

Most babies are fine, or may just need to be watched for a while. If your baby does need some help, your midwife may give s oxygen or clear out the airways to help with breathing. 

Now it's time to enjoy your new baby.