Curious what tests newborns need while they are in the hospital? There are three mandatory tests that will be performed on every newborn before they are discharged home from the hospital. Also, depending on the size of your baby at birth additional testing may be indicated.
Every baby in the state of Washington will have a Newborn Screening test submitted while in the hospital. Each state in our country has something similar but some states will test for different things. The process is simple. Someone from the lab will come and poke your baby’s heel to collect a small amount of blood for this test. Want to know more? Here is a link to the WA State Department of Health site for parents:
Every baby will get a test for bilirubin. This is a measure of jaundice. The initial test is done by placing a meter on their forehead and can get a reading from their skin. This is quick and painless for the infant. If the level is on the high side your Pediatric provider may request that an additional blood test be sent. Jaundice is something that occurs in all infants. While many babies will only need testing few will require treatment with phototherapy. There is no specific number or value that is acceptable. The number that requires an infant to be treated is calculated on both their gestational age at birth and the hours of age at the time of the lab sampling.
Every baby will have a CHD or Congenital Heart Disease screen test prior to discharge from Overlake hospital. This is a quick and painless test for the infant. The test is performed with a pulse oximeter and is able to evaluate the amount of oxygen in the infants blood. Low levels are a signal that the infant may need further evaluation for a potential heart defect.
Babies born to women who were diabetic during pregnancy or babies who are smaller or larger than expected for their gestational age at birth are at risk for hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar. Short term hypoglycemia is unlikely to cause the infant long term damage but prolonged and profound hypoglycemia can put infants at risk for brain injury. Because the possibility of brain injury exists hypoglycemia is taken very seriously. Most infants can be treated with a small amount of supplemental formula and are then able to keep their blood glucose level in a safe range. If that treatment is unsuccessful then the infant may require admission to the NICU (newborn intensive care unit) for intravenous fluids.