Routine tests and medications for newborns
Learn about the tests and screenings your newborn will need before and after going home.
At Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center (P/SL), our pregnancy and childbirth program performs several routine medical examinations on newborns to ensure they're healthy and ready to go home.
Routine Tests and Screenings
Routine medical tests and screenings for your newborn can include, but aren't limited to:
Newborn Genetic Screening: This tests for several genetic conditions, including Phenylketonuria (PKU), Galactosemia, Hypothyroidism, Sickle Cell Anemia, Cystic Fibrosis, Biotinidase Deficiency, Hemoglobinopathy, Congenital Adrenal hyperplasia. This test will be performed prior to discharge and repeated at 8-30 days of age. Newborn genetic screening is performed with a heel stick, and the only known side effect is localized pain. A "tenderfoot" heel stick device is used to prevent unnecessary repeat sticks or undue squeezing to obtain specimen.
A hearing test for your baby: The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Colorado Department of Health recommend screening your baby's hearing before three months of age. Your baby will be screened while in the hospital using a process called Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR). This easy, painless test measures the brainwave response of the baby's inner ear to sound.
A Blood Glucose examination: This test can help identify babies who suffer from unstable glucose levels. The test should occur within one hour of birth and before a feeding for early or very large or small babies, or if baby exhibits symptoms of hypoglycemia. These include jittering, inability to stay warm, lethargy. The only known side effect is the temporary pain of small "stick" to draw single drop of blood.
Newborn screening for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD): This tests for congenital heart defects and should be performed 24 hours after birth.
Bilirubin test: This test identifies babies at risk for elevated bilirubin (jaundice). All babies are tested for jaundice prior to discharge. A blood sample is obtained from the heel usually at the same time as the newborn genetic screen.
Hepatitis B Vaccine: This is recommended by American Academy of Pediatrics to reduce the risk of contracting Hepatitis B and chronic liver disease. The first dose of HBV may be given either in the nursery or at the first well baby visit. The second dose is given at 1-2 months of age, and the third dose is given at 6-18 months of age. No serious reactions have been known to occur.
Vitamin K injection: This prevents hemorrhagic disease of the newborn (spontaneous bleeding that can take place without warning). Though the condition is rare, it has a devastating effect when it does occur. This medication is given within two hours of birth. The only known side effects are a localized tenderness at injection site and a brief sensation when injected.
Ilotycin (Erythromycin) Eye Ointment: This routine medication protects the baby's eyes from possible infection because of contamination at birth. The medication is given within one hour of birth. Known side effects include occasional, temporary localized redness, blurring of vision for about 30 minutes.
For more information about the routine tests, screenings and medications P/SL performs to ensure your baby is healthy, please call (303)839-7190.