Congratulations on your newborn! The first 6 months after the birth of your precious little one will mean regular check-ups and assessments to ensure healthy growth and development. Here are just a few things you can expect right after delivery and birth.
Apgar score at birth
Following birth, your baby will be assessed by the midwife caring for you and will be given an Apgar score at 1 and 5 minutes. This Apgar scoring system helps to estimate your baby’s general condition at birth. It involves looking at:
- baby’s behaviour
- heart rate
The score is out of 10, with most babies receiving an 8 or 9 by 5 minutes following birth. The Apgar score does not predict how healthy your baby is, it just helps staff to see how normally your baby is responding and to know if they need assistance as they adapt to the new environment around them.
Your baby will also be weighed after birth and have their head circumference and body length measured. They may also be quickly bathed, and a vitamin K injection will be recommended.
In the hospital, you will usually have a paediatrician assigned to you if you haven’t chosen one already. They will be in charge of checking your baby and will usually discharge you from the hospital between 3 to 5 days after birth. In Hong Kong, vaccinations will be commenced including Hepatitis B & BCG (TB). You do have the option to not vaccinate your baby, however, if you’re choosing to decline the advice, please ensure this is based on independent research and be fully informed about what you’re declining. You will also need to discuss this decision with your paediatrician prior to discharge.
The first month postnatal
Your baby will need a check-up around days 7 to 10. This can be done at home with your midwife during their home visits unless your baby has any specific issues that require a doctor’s follow-up. Usually, your newborn will need a weekly check for the first month or so.
If you’ve decided to have a private midwife help you at home after the birth, they can help weigh and examine the baby. Midwife visits usually finish around weeks 3 to 4, and then you’ll need to schedule visits with your doctor for vaccinations and Well Baby clinics for weight checks. Usually, you should visit your paediatrician or family doctor for check-ups at 1, 2, 4, and 6 months.
The following months
At 2 months old is generally when your doctor will start the 6-in-1 vaccinations. In private clinics, this is usually done by a paediatrician or family doctor. The next injections happen at 4 and 6 months. For more information about immunisation and newborn immunisations, you can refer to our vaccination schedule.
One important thing to note is that if you are using government services, all check-ups and vaccinations are available there for free, however, the 4-in-1 vaccine given will not include the HiB vaccination – this you will need to get at a private clinic. If you want the HiB vaccine included, it may be worth considering going private for the 6-in-1 vaccine. Although the 6-in-1 vaccine is slightly more expensive, it means fewer clinic trips and injections for your child.
The government clinic will also give the Hepatitis B vaccine at 4 weeks; private doctors usually wait and administer it at 2 months, included in the 6-in-1 vaccination, so that your child receives fewer injections overall.
Our Well Baby Clinics are available every week at Annerley for weight checks, consultation, and development assessments. You can choose this option for regular weight checks in between your vaccination appointments. This is also a cost-friendly option and saves a trip to a private doctor. The Well Baby Clinics will give you access to our health visitor and experienced midwives who can help with and advise you on any of your baby-related concerns or questions.