Assessing the health of a newborn is very important for detecting any problems in their earliest, most treatable stages.
A baby's birth weight is an important indicator of health. The average weight for full-term babies (born between 37 and 41 weeks gestation) is about 7 lbs (3.2 kg). In general, small babies and very large babies are m ore likely to have problems. Newborn babies may lose as much as 10% of their birth weight . This means that a baby weighing 7 pounds 3 ounces at birth might lose as much as 10 ounces in the first few days. Your newborn will be weighed in the hospital at all check-ups. In most cases, metric units are used to record babies' weight.
Converting grams to pounds and ounces:
1lb.=453.59237 grams; 1 oz.=28.349523 grams; 1000 grams=1 kg.
Like weight, length and head circumference help your baby's health care provider get an idea of his or her overall health. They may also be measured using metric units, centimeters (cm) instead of inches (in). To convert inches to centimeters: 1 in = 2.54 cm.
A complete physical exam is an important part of newborn care. Each body system is carefully examined for signs of health and normal function. The doctor also looks for any signs of illness or birth defects. Physical exam of a newborn often includes assessment of the following:
Gestational age assessment means figuring out the number of weeks of your pregnancy. A full-term pregnancy is usually 40 weeks. It is important to assess if gestational age is uncertain or if your baby is smaller or larger than expected.
The new Ballard score is commonly used to determine gestational age.
The physical assessment includes an exam of the following physical characteristics:
The neuromuscular assessment includes an exam of the following:
Gestational age assessment is an important way to learn about your baby's well-being at birth. By identifying any problems, your baby's health care provider can plan the best possible care.
Your newborn baby is going through many changes in getting used to life in the outside world. Almost always this adjustment goes well, however there are certain warning signs you should watch for. Some general warning signs with newborns include:
Every child is different, so trust your knowledge of your child and call your child's physician if you see signs that are worrisome to you.