Physical Exam of the Newborn
A complete physical exam is an important part of newborn care. Each body system is carefully checked for signs of health and normal function. The healthcare provider also looks for any signs of illness or birth defects. Physical exam of a newborn often includes assessment of the following:
Temperature. Able to maintain stable body temperature of 97.0°F to 98.6°F (36.1°C to 37°C) in normal room environment.
Heartbeat. Normally 120 to 160 beats per minute. It may be much slower when an infant sleeps.
Breathing rate. Normally 40 to 60 breaths per minute.
Blood pressure. Normally an upper number (systolic) between 60 and 80, and a lower number (diastolic) between 30 and 45.
Oxygen saturation. Normally 95% to 100% on room air.
General appearance. Physical activity, muscle tone, posture, and level of consciousness or whether or not an infant is awake and alert.
Skin. Color, texture, nails, presence of rashes.
Head and neck:
Appearance, shape, and shaping of the head from passage through the birth canal (molding)
The open soft spots between the bones of the baby's skull (fontanels)
Bones across the upper chest (clavicles)
Face. Eyes, ears, nose, cheeks. Presence of red reflex in the eyes.
Mouth. Roof of the mouth (palate), tongue, throat.
Lungs. Breath sounds, breathing pattern.
Heart sounds and femoral (in the groin) pulses
Abdomen. Presence of masses or hernias.
Genitals and anus. Open passage for of urine and stool and normally formed male and female genitals.
Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNPHeather TrevinoLiora C Adler MD
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2019
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
- Anatomy of the Newborn Skull
- Assessments for Newborn Babies
- Baby's Care After Birth
- Breast Milk Collection and Storage
- Breastfeeding and Delayed Milk Production
- Breastfeeding at Work
- Breastfeeding Difficulties - Baby
- Breastfeeding Difficulties - Mother
- Breastfeeding: Getting Started
- Breastfeeding Your Baby
- Breastfeeding Your Premature Baby
- Breathing Problems
- Care of the Baby in the Delivery Room
- Caring for Babies in the NICU
- Chromosomal Abnormalities
- Common Conditions and Complications
- Common Procedures
- Congenital Heart Disease Index
- Difficulty with Latching On or Sucking
- Digestive Disorders
- Fever in A Newborn
- Hearing Loss in Babies
- Hearing Screening Tests for Newborns
- Heart Disorders
- High-Risk Newborn Blood Disorders
- Infant Feeding Guide
- Infant of a Mother with Diabetes
- Infant Play
- Infant Sleep
- Infection in Babies
- Inguinal Hernia in Children
- Male Conditions
- Male Growth and Development
- Megaureter in Children
- Neurological Disorders in the Newborn
- Newborn Appearance
- Newborn Babies: Getting Ready at Home
- Newborn Care
- Newborn Complications
- Newborn Crying
- Newborn Health Assessment
- Newborn Measurements
- Newborn Multiples
- Newborn Reflexes
- Newborn Screening Tests
- Newborn Senses
- Newborn Sleep Patterns
- Newborn Warning Signs
- Normal Newborn Behaviors and Activities
- Physical Exam: Adolescent Male
- Physical Exam for a Child with Congenital Heart Disease
- Preparing for Your New Baby
- Preparing the Family
- Skin Color Changes
- Substance Exposure
- Taking Your Baby Home
- The Growing Child: Newborn
- The Respiratory System in Babies
- Thrush (Oral Candida Infection) in Children
- Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn
- Umbilical Cord Care
- Vision and Hearing
- Keeping Your Baby Warm
- When to Call Your Child's Healthcare Provider
- Basics About Your Newborn’s Body
- Birthmarks in Infants
- Mom and Baby Bond through Kangaroo Care
- Sports Safety