Most first time parents do not know what to expect during the first hours of their child’s life. After your baby is born, they require newborn medical care. This usually involves a round of vital tests and procedures that ensure the baby is healthy. You shouldn’t assume that everything will be taken care of. It is your duty as a parent to ensure your baby receives all the necessary screenings and vaccine shots. Here are seven tests recommended by most hospitals in the U.S.
Apgar is a quick test that determines if your baby is healthy or requires urgent medical care. The pediatric physician will take the test twice. The first is one minute after birth and the next five minutes after birth. The doctor checks your baby’s heart rate, breathing, grimace, skin color, activity, and muscle tone. Each test grades from 0-2 with a combined maximum score of 10. A baby rarely achieves a perfect score. A baby with a score of seven and above is fine. If the newborn has a low Apgar score, the medics may recommend extra medical care.
Newborn Metabolic Screening
The pediatric medical staff pricks the heel of your baby to obtain a small sample of blood. The blood tests cover a range of up to 50 diseases. While the newborn might look healthy, they may have a congenital condition. Different states have different requirements for testing. All 50 states screen for Phenylketonuria, hypothyroidism, galactosemia, and sickle-cell disease. The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends testing for at least 30 diseases.
Your baby may receive eye drops to prevent contracting eye infections. Bacterial infections may result from the delivery process. They may also be as a result of sexually transmitted infections such as Gonorrhea and chlamydia, which may cause blindness if left untreated.
All babies have a hearing screening to detect hearing loss. Hearing defects are uncommon and hard to identify later in a child’s life. The pediatricians use tiny earphones or microphones to observe your baby’s reaction to sound. The tests may prevent delays in speech and language during the kid’s development.
Pediatric doctors evaluate all newborns for signs of jaundice. Jaundice is the yellowing of your baby’s skin and whites of the eyes due to bilirubin build-up. Most babies born prematurely are easily susceptible to developing jaundice. You may follow up on the newborn medical care during your first visit to the pediatrician after 3-5 days.
Hepatitis B Vaccine
The vaccine shot protects your newborn against the Hepatitis B virus. One in every five non-immunized children has a higher risk of infection from the virus. It may lead to a lifelong disease characterized by liver damage. The Center for Disease Control recommends three shots for your baby. The first within 24 hours after birth, and the next two by 18 months of age.
The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends a shot of vitamin K immediately after birth. Newborns usually have low levels of vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting. Low levels of the vitamin may lead to the baby developing the rare hemorrhagic disease of newborns.
Newborn medical care is critical in establishing the health status of your baby. Most of the tests, except the Apgar, can be done an hour after birth. This allows parents to use their baby’s first moments of life bonding with them. Request an appointment with Pediatrix for baby care.