What checks are made after the birth?

The midwife will check your baby’s general condition and remove any remaining fluid in her mouth, nose or air passages by sucking it out with disposable plastic tubing.

If she doesn’t start to breathe immediately, then the midwife will take her and give her oxygen.

She will be checked to make sure her facial features and body proportions are normal and she will be turned over to make sure that her back is normal and there are no indications of spina bifida.

Her anus is checked, as are fingers and toes. The number of blood vessels in the umbilical cord are recorded; there are usually two arteries and one vein. She will then be weighed and her head circumference and possibly her body length measured.

The Apgar Score

Within a minute of her birth five simple tests are carried out.

These are scored on the Apgar scale (named after Dr Virginia Apgar who devised it). The tests will be repeated after five minutes. A total score of seven or above is normal.

The Apgar score includes the following checks:

1. Pulse/heart rate

This measures the strength and regularity of the heartbeat. 100 beats a minute scores 2; below 100 scores 1; no pulse scores 0.

2. Breathing

This reveals the maturity and health of the baby’s lungs. Regular breathing or crying scores 2, irregular 1, none 0.

3. Movements

An indication of the baby’s muscle tone. Active movements score 2, some movements 1, limp scores 0.

4. Skin colour.

This shows how well the lungs are working to oxygenate the blood. Pink skin scores 2, bluish extremities 1, totally blue skin scores 0.

5. Reflexes

Strong reflexes score 2, weak reflexes score 1, no reflexes score 0.