Viewing entries tagged
new baby screening

Newborn Hospital Protocol

How long can we expect to stay in the hospital?

The typical hospital stay is the same at St. John’s, Santa Monica/UCLA and Cedars-Sinai Medical Centers. After a vaginal delivery, new mothers stay in the hospital for 2 days after delivering their baby. Following a cesarean delivery, a 4 day hospital stay is recommended by obstetricians.

How often will we see a pediatrician while in the hospital?

Your baby’s first exam will take place within 24 hours after you deliver, usually between the hours of 6am and 9am. The first exam is a thorough exam in which the doctor will examine the baby’s eyes, heart, lungs, extremities, and reflexes. For the remainder of your hospital stay, the pediatrician will visit daily (typically in the mornings before o ce hours) and monitor the baby’s feeding, weight loss, and physical exam. If you have any questions for the doctor, please write them down and we would be happy to answer them when we stop by.

What is the reason for the Vitamin K shot after birth?

Some babies are born with low levels of vitamin K, which is a very important factor for blood clotting. Babies who are born with low levels of vitamin K can develop what is known as “hemorrhagic disease of the newborn,” a dangerous life-threatening condition in which babies have uncontrollable bleeding. A single shot of Vitamin K prevents this disease, and is given to all babies born in the United States. Oral vitamin K is not a viable alternative, because it takes too long to reach sufficient levels in the baby’s body to protect them against the disease.

Why is the erythromycin ointment applied to my baby’s eyes?

Erythromycin is an antibiotic ointment that is applied to the eyes of all newborns to prevent chlamydia and gonorrheal eye infections. Although the vast majority of women are screened for these diseases during their pregnancies, these sexually transmitted diseases have a tendency to be “silent” and women can carry them without knowing it. For this reason, all babies are treated and protected in the United States, especially because the consequences of leaving these eye infections untreated are so terrible: blindness and permanent visual damage.

What is the newborn screen and what diseases does it test for? When do we get the results?

The newborn screen is a mandatory blood test that is performed on every baby in the United States prior to discharge from the hospital. It screens for a number of di erent genetic (inheritable) diseases which require early intervention, including: phenylketonuria, sickle cell anemia, hypothyroidism, and a group of rare disorders that are known as “inborn errors of metabolism.” The results will be mailed to our o ce and we should have them by your baby’s 2 week well child visit. If you are following up with a di erent o ce, be sure to have them call us so we can fax over the results to your pediatrician.

Will my baby get a hearing screen?

Every baby gets a hearing screen before leaving the hospital. Both ears will be tested and the results will either be “pass” or “referred.” If the results show the baby is “referred” in one or both ears, it does not mean that your baby has a hearing deficit. The test performed in the hospital is a screening test and will pick up some “false positives,” babies with normal hearing that falsely test positive for a hearing deficit. If your baby is referred, we will refer you for a more accurate hearing test after your first visit to our o ce.