Pregnancy Guide
NHS Choices

Health & development reviews

You will be offered regular health and development reviews (health visitor checks) for your baby until they are two. These are to support you and your baby, and make sure their development is on track.

The reviews will usually be done by your health visitor or a member of their team. Reviews may be done in your home or at the GP surgery, baby clinic or children's centre.

It's helpful, where possible, for both parents to attend. This gives you both a chance to ask questions and talk about any concerns you have.

The personal child health record (red book)

Shortly before or after your baby is born, you'll be given a personal child health record (PCHR). This usually has a red cover and is often called the "red book".

It's a good idea to take your baby's red book with you every time you visit the baby clinic or GP.

They will use it to record your child's weight and height, vaccinations, and other important health information.

You can also add information to the red book yourself. You may want to record any illnesses or accidents your baby has, or any medicines they take.

You'll find it helpful to keep the developmental milestones section of the red book up-to-date, too.

What happens at your baby's reviews

During your baby's reviews, your health visitor will discuss your baby's health and development and ask if you have any concerns.

If your baby is gaining weight and you and your health visitor have no concerns, they should only be weighed once a month. This gives a clear idea of your baby's weight gain over a period of time..

If your baby was born prematurely, their developmental age will be calculated from your original due date, not from the actual date they were born, until they are two years old.

When your baby will have their reviews

Your baby will usually have reviews at the ages outlined below. If you have any concerns at other times, contact your health visitor or GP, or go to your local baby clinic.

Shortly after birth

Your baby will be weighed at birth and again during their first week. They will also have a thorough physical examination within 72 hours of being born. A healthprofessional will usually check your baby's eyes, heart, hips, and (for baby boys) testes.

Read more about the newborn physical examination.

At five to eight days, your baby will have a blood spot (heel prick) test, that screens for a number of rare diseases, including cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease. This is usually done by the midwife.

See more about the blood spot (heel prick) test.

Your baby will have a hearing test soon after birth. If you have your baby in hospital, this may be done before you leave. Otherwise, it will be done some time in the first few weeks at the hearing centre in your local hospital.

See what the newborn hearing test involves.

Your midwife and health visitor will also support you with breastfeeding, caring for your new baby, and adjusting to life as new parents.

One to two weeks

Your health visitor will carry out a new baby review with you and your partner within 10 to 14 days of their birth. They can give you advice on:

  • safe sleeping
  • vaccinations
  • feeding your baby (breastfeeding and bottle feeding)
  • caring for your baby
  • your baby's development

Six to eight weeks

Your baby will be invited for a thorough physical examination. This is usually done by your GP. Your baby's eyes, heart, hips, and (for boys) testicles will be checked. They will also have their weight, length and head circumference measured.

Your GP or health visitor will discuss your baby's vaccinations with you. These are offered at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks and one year old, and before your child starts school.

They'll also ask you how you've been feeling emotionally and physically since the birth of your baby.

Nine months to one year

During this time, your baby should be offered another review looking at, among other things, language and learning, safety, diet, and behaviour.

This is usually done by a member of the health visiting team, and is an opportunity for you and your partner to discuss any concerns you may have.

You may be asked to fill in a short questionnaire to help your health visitor understand how your baby is developing.

Two to two-and-a-half years

At two to two-and-a-half years your child will have another health and development review. It's best if you and your partner can both be there.

This is usually done by a nursery nurse or the health visitor, and may happen at your home, baby clinic, the children's centre, or at your child's nursery (if they are attending one).

They'll encourage you to talk about your child's progress and will help you with any concerns. You may be asked to fill in a short questionnaire about your baby's development.

It's best if both you and your partner are there. If your child attends an early years setting, such as a nursery or childminder, the review may be linked to your child's early years progress check at age two.

The review will cover:

  • general development, including movement, speech, social skills and behaviour, and hearing and vision
  • growth, healthy eating and keeping active
  • managing behaviour and encouraging good sleeping habits
  • tooth brushing and going to the dentist
  • keeping your child safe
  • vaccinations

Last Updated: 08/11/2017 09:51:55