Your baby’s early assessment

A 6 week baby check consists of an examination of your infant. This usually takes place between six to eight weeks and includes the following:

  • A physical examination
  • A review of development

  • An opportunity to give health promotion advice

  • An opportunity for the parent to express concerns

Further information about what a 6 week baby check consists of can be found below.


The main purpose of this is to detect:

  • Congenital heart disease

  • Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH)
  • Congenital cataract
  • Undescended testes

It also includes:

  • A weight check
  • Measurement of head circumference. There will also be an opportunity to palpate sutures and fontanelles and assess head shape.

  • A general assessment of appearance. This includes behaviour, breathing, activity and skin colour (jaundice, rashes or birthmarks).

  • Assessment of tone, movements and posture.

  • A head assessment. This includes fontanelles, face, nose, palate and symmetry.

  • Assessment of the eyes for the presence of the red reflex and visual fixing.
  • Heart assessment (position, murmurs, rate, femoral pulses).

  • A lung assessment (added sounds and rate).

  • Abdomen assessment (shape, organomegaly, hernia).

  • Genitalia assessment (normality, testicular descent).

  • Examination of the hips. We do this using Barlow and Ortolani tests. We can also look for symmetrical skin creases in the thighs.

  • An assessment of the spine.


  • Review feeding and weight gain. Check growth chart.
  • Review vision and hearing. The majority of neonates are screened for hearing before they leave the maternity unit. If not, this is arranged early by the midwife or health visitor. Most parents will have noticed that their baby will “still” to sudden noise and will follow a face with their eyes.

  • Socially, most babies will be spontaneously smiling by six weeks. They will also have a range of sounds – coos, slugs and cries – which indicate mood.

  • We will ask you if you have any other concerns relating to the abdomen. This may include shape, organomegaly or hernia.

  • Genitalia assessment (normality, testicular descent).

  • Spine assessment.

  • Examination of the hips. We use Barlow and Ortolani tests. We can also look for symmetrical skin creases in the thighs.


Parents will be given verbal and written advice where appropriate. Maternal health will also be considered if there’s evidence of postnatal depression.

Fathers involvement will be considered and we would use this the opportunity to involve him in the care of the child.

If you would like to make an appointment for a 6 week baby check, please click the button below.