Newborn Screening (page 2)
Your Baby’s First Exam
During the first 24 hours, a doctor or nurse will do a physical exam. You can ask to watch. They will:
- Weigh and measure your baby
- Listen to your baby’s heart
- Check your baby’s body and reflexes
- Check for jaundice
Talking with the Doctor or Nurse
The doctor or nurse will talk with you about your baby. He or she will talk about feeding, caring for the belly button, car safety seats, and what position your baby should sleep in. This is a time to ask your questions. No question is silly or dumb. If you do not understand something, ask your doctor or nurse to explain it to you. Writing down your questions may help you remember. Your doctor or nurse will not know that you have a question unless you ask it. If there are possible problems that need follow-up, he or she will tell you about them.
At the exam, your doctor will also talk about giving your baby her first hepatitis B immunization. You will get a small blue book called the Massachusetts Lifetime Immunization Record. All of her immunizations will be recorded in it. Bring this record to every health care visit. It is very important. Your child will need it for going to child care, school, and camp.
Your doctor or nurse may talk about:
- How newborns sleep
- When and how to call the doctor or nurse
- How to tell if your baby is getting enough to eat
- Getting help at home
- Putting your baby to sleep on his back
Questions some parents ask:
- How many wet or soiled diapers should I expect over the next several days?
- Does my baby need water?
- Is it normal for my baby to lose weight?
- How often should I feed my baby?
- Who can help me with breastfeeding?
All babies are tested for signs of some possible health problems at the hospital. These tests are called screenings. Screenings check for problems that can be treated when found early. Ask your doctor for more information about any of these tests.
Newborn Hearing Screening
Your baby will be screened for signs of possible hearing problems. It is simple and does not hurt. If the screening shows that your baby might have a hearing problem, it means that your baby needs other tests. Your doctor will speak with you about these tests.
Very few babies are born with hearing loss. If your baby has a hearing problem, it is important to find out early. This way children can get the best care to prevent speech and learning problems later.
Newborn Screening Blood Test
Routine Newborn Screening: When your baby is about two days old, a few small drops of blood will be collected. This lets your baby be tested for ten treatable diseases.
Optional Newborn Screening: You will be asked whether you want your baby to be tested for twenty other treatable diseases. No extra blood is needed for this test.
If the routine or optional screenings show that your baby has signs of a possible disease, your baby’s doctor will call you.
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