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Routine tests and interventions for the newborn

These happen in all settings and can involve different things depending on where you live and where you give birth. Depending on your medical history and risk factors, you may consider skipping some of them.


Applying antibiotic ointment or drops to the baby’s eyes is done to prevent possible transmission of infection from mother to baby if the mother has gonorrhoea or chlamydia (which can cause blindness).
What are the problems with it?
Many women know that they do not have any infections, do not want their babies exposed to antibiotics immediately after birth and do not want the baby’s vision blurred because of the ointment or drops during the golden hour. They want baby to be able to see clearly.
What are the alternatives?
Being tested in pregnancy to make sure that you do not have any STDs and making your decision to use the ointment accordingly. Waiting until after the golden hour to apply or skipping altogether.
Vitamin K is given in the form of a shot to baby’s thigh to prevent rare bleeding disorders and improve blood clotting in the first three months after birth. Sometimes, it may also be available in the form of oral drops. It’s important to get if the birth was difficult and baby experienced bruising or hematoma.
What are the problems with it?
Many parents are concerned about vitamin K, although there is little evidence to show that it is harmful, and there is long-term evidence supporting the dose currently given to newborns. There is some evidence that it increases the prevalence of jaundice.
What are the alternatives?
You can ask that the shot be delayed until after the golden hour, that oral drops be administered instead of the shot (sometimes that means you have to continue giving drops for the first few months postpartum) or that you skip the shot altogether.
Newborn blood tests are done during the first few days of life to test for bilirubin (the substance that can cause jaundice), blood sugar levels, infection, genetic testing or blood typing (especially if you are rhesus negative). Sometimes the blood is taken from the umbilical cord and sometimes it is taken by pricking baby’s heel to get a few drops of blood.
What are the problems with it?
Not all babies need to be tested for jaundice, infection or have their blood sugar levels taken.
What are the alternatives?
Test only when baby has symptoms of jaundice, infection or blood sugar problems. The heel prick test is quick and only done once - it is recommended you test your baby for rare genetic diseases.
Newborn hearing tests are done by putting soft headphones on baby’s ears and letting out a sound wave. A machine calculates how long it takes the sound wave to travel from the baby’s ear drum and back. This is usually organised a few hours or a day after birth.
What are the problems with it?
Sometimes babies have stuffed-up ears after birth and you have to come back to be re-tested in a few days.
What are the alternatives?
Have the test done later on during a check-up with your doctor, or skip it altogether.

 

http://www.roda.hr/en/projects/3p-plus-education-for-a-positive-pregnancy-birth-and-postpartum/pregnant-your-friendly-guide-to-the-next-twelve-months.html