1. General Appearance:
A newborn infant should have a rounded head and soft, smooth skin. The eyes should be firmly closed and the ears symmetrical. The mouth should show minimal drooling and regular respiration with no signs of distress or nasal flaring. The creases on the hands and feet should be present. Newborns may have a variety of body types, including thin or chubby.
The newborn's skin should be examined for any rashes, lesions, birthmarks, mottling, or other abnormalities. The umbilical cord should appear healed and not show signs of infection. Additionally, the creases in the palms and feet should be inspected to identify any unusual features.
Careful examination of the head, eyes, ears, nose and throat is essential in newborns since many congenital problems first manifest themselves here. The presence of any bulging fontanelles (soft spots on top of an infant’s skull) should also become evident during this exam. Hypertelorism (widely spaced eyes) should be noted.
The chest wall should move symmetrically during respiration and the lungs should show no signs of wheezing or crackling. The heart rate should have a regular rhythm and be within expected range for an infant.
position of the liver and other organs within the abdominal cavity. The umbilical stump should also be inspected for infection or any unusual features such as redness or drainage.
The genitalia of male infants must be closely examined to detect any signs of abnormalities, such as an undescended testis or hypospadias. Females should also be assessed for any noticeable differences from expected anatomy.
The newborn's limbs and joints should be examined for full range of motion, as well as evidence of congenital malformations such as clubfoot or rocker bottom feet. The neck should have adequate flexibility and the baby should show no signs of torticollis (twisting of the neck).
During a thorough neurological assessment, healthcare providers will assess the infant’s activity level, responsiveness to touch, muscle tone and reflexes, including those associated with the Moro reflex and Babinski response. The Moro reflex is when a baby throws out his/her arms and legs in response to sudden loud noise or being startled. The Babinski response is involuntary flexing of the big toe to touch stimuli on the sole of the foot.
9. Vital Signs:
The newborn’s vital signs, including heart rate, respiratory rate and temperature should also be checked for any abnormalities. These measurements provide a baseline for future growth and development.
10. Measure and Plot on Growth Chart:
Finally, physical measurements such as head circumference, weight, height and length must be taken to assess if a baby's growth is within normal parameters throughout each stage of development. This information should then be plotted on an infant growth chart provided by the World Health Organization. This chart provides an effective tool to ensure proper growth and development is meeting expectations.