Shortly after birth, your baby will be offered a number of tests and examinations to screen for any health conditions that may be present. The Newborn and Infant Physical Examination (NIPE) is one of the tests offered and as the name suggests, consists of a physical examination of your baby. It will be offered to you within 72 hours of birth and again between 6-8 weeks of age.
The main purpose of the NIPE is to identify babies born with heart, hip and eye problems so that any necessary treatment can be started quickly. For baby boys, it also screens for problems with the testes. In addition, the health professional carrying out the examination will be looking for anything unusual about your baby’s general appearance and wellbeing that may indicate an underlying problem.
Before the start of the examination, you will be asked a few questions around your pregnancy, your own health and any medical conditions that may be present in any of your baby’s immediate family members. You will also be asked about your baby’s behaviour and feeding pattern since birth and should be given the opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have about your baby’s health and behaviour. Your baby will need to be undressed for part of the examination and although your baby may cry, the examination is not painful for your baby. You will be told the results of the examination immediately. If a problem has been found, a referral to a specialist may be necessary for further investigations and to confirm a diagnosis.
Although it is recommended that every newborn baby has a NIPE examination, you have the right to decline it, or part of it. If you have any worries or concerns about the examination then please speak to your midwife or other health professional. It is also important to know that not every condition will be identified during the NIPE, as some conditions don’t develop or show symptoms immediately. If you notice anything about your baby that you are worried about, you should therefore speak to your midwife, health visitor or a doctor without delay.
Post by Jo, One to One midwife