Definition and Overview
The 9-month well-baby checkup is a consultation with a pediatrician with the goal to check the baby’s overall health condition and if applicable, detect, diagnose, or monitor diseases.
Nine months is considered to be an exciting age for both the parents and the baby. More likely, this is the last wellness checkup for the child before he turns a year old. Around this age, he will be able to sit without any support and stand while being held. He can also crawl, pull himself to stand, become more engaged during play, and be more explorative. He may begin to touch objects such as toys, reach out to items found on above surfaces, and searches for things that you may be inclined to hide.
A 9-month-old child is also expected to be more social and his emotions may be wide ranging. For example, he may show fear and anxiety when he meets strangers or responds positively when he’s surrounded by familiar faces.
Children’s development can vary but pediatricians and other health experts working with kids use guidelines or standards that allow them to properly monitor children’s growth and health.
Who Should Undergo and Expected Results
As the term implies, this particular check-up is for babies who are about nine months old. This is performed to:
- Make sure that the baby is healthy
- Provide vaccinations – Around this age, it is expected that the baby will receive his third dose of hepatitis B and inactivated polio virus. He may also receive his first flu shot, which is then administered once a year after that. The pediatrician will also check the baby’s record and may provide vaccines that may not have been given in the earlier months.
- Observe and assess the social, mental, and psychological development of the child –Autism, for example, is usually diagnosed when children are already three years old, but the telltale signs can appear as early as six months old.
- Educate or counsel parents about proper child care when and as needed
- Establish a good relationship between the patient as well as the parent and the doctor – This is important as pediatricians are the primary health care provider for patients who are between 0 and 18 years old.
How Does the Procedure Work?
Prior to the actual consultation, the nurse will perform initial physical exams and readings such as weight, height, and head circumference. The information is then plotted onto the child’s growth chart. The pediatrician will then:
- Perform more exams to check the child’s vital organs such as the heart, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth
- Observe the baby’s movements to check on any issues with motor, cognitive, and communication development
- Request for certain tests such as blood exams to check for any disease or signs and symptoms of conditions
- Check his temperature
- Immunize the baby and updates the vaccination book
The pediatrician will have a couple of questions to the parents, such as the types of food the baby eats, bowel movements, and activities in the home, among others. He will also take this time to counsel or guide the parents on how to manage their 9-month-old baby’s needs.
A typical consultation takes around 30 minutes.
Possible Risks and Complications
Children at this age may be less receptive to people they don’t regularly see. They may also be very fussy or throw tantrums during the checkup. These may cause a delay that can easily extend the appointment.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics