Your baby's first check-up will take place immediately after birth. First and foremost, your doctor or midwife will check that your baby has survived everything well. To do this, they examine the baby’s vital functions, such as breathing and cardiovascular activity, at short intervals. They also watch your baby carefully so that they can intervene right away if any problems arise. Some quick and painless tests are done for this purpose. Your doctor or midwife will listen to your baby's heart and lungs, check their breathing, test their muscle tone and reflexes, and assess the colour and blood flow to their skin. They also measure the baby's length, weight and girth.
The individual results from these screenings correlate to points that are recorded in what’s known as the. The sum of the points awarded gives the Apgar score. It indicates how well your baby has already adjusted to life outside your belly. In, English, Apgar stands for Appearance (skin color), Pulse (heart rate), Grimace (reflex irritability), Activity (muscle tone), and Respiration. Although the order and words are different in German, the term Apgar is also used and tests for the same things. If the Apgar score is low, this usually indicates a lack of oxygen. Then the baby must be supplied with oxygen or put on a ventilator. After five to ten minutes, the value is checked again to see if the newborn can now breathe on their own.
Your doctor or midwife will clarify other points during the first examination. They check if your baby has any swelling or visible birth defects, make sure they are fully developed, and see if there were any injuries during birth. They also check to see if your baby has jaundice. This is not uncommon in newborns and generally not a cause for concern. It only needs to be treated if a certain blood level is too high. This value shows the blood concentration of the pigment .
Immediately after birth and in consultation with the parents, newborns are given vitamin K as a precaution. Many experts believe this is important for preventing dangerous brain haemorrhages. The body needs vitamin K for blood clotting. If there is too little of it, even small injuries can lead to heavy bleeding. Infants often have a vitamin K deficiency. Therefore in Germany it is routine for newborns to be administered two milligrammes of vitamin K drops orally three times. The first dose is given immediately after birth at the U1 check-up. The baby gets the second dose after a few days at the U2 check-up and the third dose after four weeks at the U3 check-up.