Well Baby Checkups:
All babies that are born needs to be seen preferably by a paediatrician during the first 24 hours of their life. This is done to establish the ability of the baby to adapt to extra-uterine life.
Before a baby is born a baby is completely dependent on his mother for food, oxygen, excretion of by-products etc. but after a baby is born his own body needs to take over these functions. It is the job of the paediatrician to evaluate how the baby copes with these changes.
It is also the job of the paediatrician to examine the baby to try and detect any abnormalities that may not have been picked up during the pregnancy.
Babies are also monitored for their feeding abilities and for the development of jaundice.
How do I get a paediatrician?
A parent is always welcome to request a certain paediatrician to be present at the birth of the baby or to attend to her baby after he or she is born. You can communicate your wishes to your gynaecologist, the secretary who makes the bookings for the delivery and the labour ward staff.
If parents have no preferences the gynaecologist or the labour ward staff will assign a paediatrician to your baby. This decision is not cast in stone, and parents can always change paediatricians at their request. You do not have to stay with the paediatrician that your child was born with.
Normally the paediatrician that checked your baby at birth will complete the hospital stay and you can change after discharge to your paediatrician of choice.
How often will my baby be checked:
If you deliver via a caesarean section a paediatrician will usually be in theatre when your baby is born, to make sure that the baby is breathing fine, that his heart is coping with the changes, that he is active and crying and to make sure that there are no obvious abnormalities. The booking of the paediatrician usually happens at the same time an elective caesarean section is booked, but will be the paediatrician on call if it is an emergency after hour caser.
If your baby is born via a normal delivery, the paediatrician will usually come and see baby in the next 24 hours, unless a problem is detected by the nursing staff, in which case the paediatrician will come out on an emergency basis.
As long as you are in hospital baby will be checked every day.
What will happen at discharge?
You will be given instructions by the paediatrician when baby needs to be seen again. This is usually at 6 weeks if everything is ok, but might be sooner in certain cases, like baby being a bit premature, or small, or having feeding problems, or any other problem that needs to be followed up.
If your baby develops jaundice your paediatrician will also ask you to go for jaundice tests after discharge. This usually is done at the pathology department, who will let your paediatrician know what the results are. If you have not heard from us or can phone in to your paediatrian's office about 6 hours after you went for the test to hear what the results are, and what needs to happen further. Usually if there is a problem, we will let you know that you need to come in.
You will be issued a card (stapled to the clinic card) of the paediatrician's details: contact number, e-mail address etc.
When will baby be discharged?
Caesarean babies goes home after 3 nights in hospital and babies that are born vaginally after 2 nights. Babies are normally discharged with their mothers, unless baby has some health issues, for instance develops jaundice that needs treatment or is admitted to the Neonatal ICU.
What if my baby develops problems before the 6 week check?
If you are not sure whether it is a problem that you need to worry about, or if you just need to ask or check something small, you are welcome to send us an e-mail.
If you are worried, please phone in and make an appointment. Please do not wait until 6 weeks, if you are experiencing problems.
Jaundice follow up.
If your baby develops jaundice your paediatrician will also ask you to go for jaundice tests after discharge. This usually is done at the pathology department, who will let your paediatrician know what the results are. If you have not heard from us you can phone in to your paediatrian's office about 6 hours after you went for the test to hear what the results are, and what needs to happen further. Usually if there is a problem, we will let you know that you need to come in.
All babies with jaundice does not need therapy, only those who go above a certain value. The reason for this is that there are complications associated with high bilirubin results (the substance that causes the yellow discolouration). This value is not static, but goes up for 7-10 days after delivery. This increase is the reason that one jaundice test is not sufficient. It needs to be monitored until the peak value has been reached. Your paediatrician will guide you when you need to go back for more tests, or whether you can stop going.
If your paediatrician did not mention anything about jaundice, but you notice at home that your baby is becoming yellow, please go to your nearest pathologist, request a jaundice test to be done and the results send to your paediatrician.