Tests for babies after birth

Following the birth of your baby, it is important to complete a series of tests to ensure they are healthy.

Hearing test

After your baby is born, we routinely offer a hearing test, which is non-invasive (it is generally done while they sleep), and is done on the ward before you go home. If you go home early before this is completed, you are able to make an appointment to bring your baby back for the test. Early detection of hearing loss means parents can receive good advice and support from the start, which allows the baby the best start in life.

Newborn screening test (NST)

The other test routinely offered is the NST. Some people know this as the heel prick test, and it is done when your baby is 48-72 hours old, possibly while you are still at the hospital, or otherwise at home. This test looks for very rare but serious medical conditions that are otherwise undetectable at birth. You will need to give your consent for any of these tests.


Jaundice is caused by a build up of a pigment called bilirubin in your baby’s blood and tissue. This causes them to look slightly yellow, and is very common and rarely serious. Usually, just by feeding your baby regularly, this will pass within a few days. If your baby is very sleepy, or not feeding well, we may be concerned about this level of jaundice, and may recommend either a heel prick blood test, or use a skin sensor that is able to determine whether we need to be concerned, and whether further testing is required. If the levels are high, your baby will need blue light (phototherapy) treatment.

Hot weather and babies

While many parents worry that their baby might get too cold, it is equally important not to allow your baby to get too hot. Read the below link for advice on keeping babies cool in hot weather.

Positional talipes

This is a common foot condition in which the foot rests downwards and inwards, but is still flexible. Your midwife will show you exercises which you can do to help stretch the muscles and return the foot to its normal position.