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Postnatal screening choices

Within this information, we may use the terms "woman" and "women". However, we recognise that not only people who identify as women may want to access this content. Your care should be personalised, inclusive and sensitive to your needs, whatever your gender identity.

We have a dedicated team of midwives who are responsible for ensuring that all eligible women and babies are offered screening tests within the recommended time frame.

We are based at Heartlands Hospital, though we work across University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, including Good Hope and Solihull hospitals.

Your community midwife will discuss the screening tests that will be offered to you throughout your pregnancy and once your baby is born. However, if you have any further questions, please contact our antenatal and newborn screening midwives.

What are screening tests?

Screening tests are used to highlight those who have a higher chance of a health concern. This can help people to get earlier treatment and make informed decisions about their health.

Screening tests are not always 100% accurate. It is a personal choice whether you decide to have screening tests or not.

Screening choices for your baby

Hearing screen

Your baby will be offered a quick and simple test to identify signs of hearing loss. This is normally completed before you leave hospital. However, it can be completed at a later date at an outpatient appointment.

There are no risks associated with having this test and you will receive the results as soon as the test is complete.

Newborn infant physical examination

Your baby will be offered a physical examination within 72 hours of birth to check for signs of abnormalities. This examination will take place on the ward, before discharge. 

The examination consists of three to four specific tests that look for problems with the eyes, heart, hips and, in boys, the testes (testicles). 


This examination looks at the appearance of the eyes and for cataracts. It does not tell us if your baby can see.


This is a general examination of your baby’s heart. Sometimes a murmur is detected – this is where a noise is made by the blood as it passes through the heart. In almost all cases where a murmur is heard, the heart is normal.

Around 1 in 200 babies has a heart problem that requires treatment.


Baby boys are checked to make sure their testes are in the right place.

Around 1 in 100 baby boys has problems with undescended testes that will need treatment to reduce the risk of problems in later life, such as reduced fertility.

Newborn blood spot test

When your baby is 5 days old, your community midwifery team can obtain a blood sample from the heel of your baby’s foot. The blood can be screened for nine rare but treatable health conditions.

Last reviewed: 28 February 2023