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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Poking and Prodding your Newborn

Believe it or not, the baby just doesn't pop out, get cleaned up, and then happily chill out with some fresh breastmilk immediately after the birth. After talking with my midwife and reading up on birth, it appears that the baby gets a series of shots and other drugs immediately upon being born.

There is the Vitamin K shot, the Hepatitis B shot, the hearing test, a metabolic screening, a full checkup, an Apgar evaluation, and the eye drops.

Vitamin K is needed to help blood clot. So this shot prevents dangerous bleeding in newborns. Of course there is pain in the area of the shot, so you can ask that the doctor give the shot after you have spent some time with the newborn.

Hep B according to greatdad.com: "It has now been suggested by most hospitals that newborns get a vaccine to protect against the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV can cause a lifelong infection, serious liver damage and even death. The hepatitis B vaccine is a series of three different shots. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all newborns get the first shot soon after birth or before leaving the hospital. If the mother does not have hepatitis B, the first shot can wait for 2 months. The second and last shot should be given before 18 months of age."

Hearing test: Newborn hearing tests can spot hearing problems early. Doctors use tiny headphones to see how the baby reacts to sounds.

The metabolic screening according to greatdad.com is one where, "Doctors or nurses prick your baby's heel to take a tiny sample of blood and then use this blood to test for many diseases. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, all 50 states require testing for at least two disorders: phenylketonuria and congenital hypothyroidism. But many states test for up to 30 differen
t diseases."

For the regular check-up doctors or nurses also:

•Measure the newborn's weight, length, and head.
•Take the baby's temperature.
•Measure his breathing and heart rates
•Give the baby a bath and clean the umbilical cord stump

The Apgar tests:

•heart rate
•breathing
•activity and muscle tone
•reflexes
•skin color

The eye drops:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "recommend that all newborns receive eye drops or ointment to prevent infections they can get during delivery. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including gonorrhea and chlamydia are a main cause of newborn eye infections. These infections can cause blindness when left untreated. Silver nitrate, erythromycin, and tetracycline are the three medicines used in newborns' eyes." These medicines can sting and/or blur the baby's vision, which some think prevent full parental connection between mother and infant at the time of birth therefore some parents might question whether this treatment is really needed. Besides, many women at low risk for STDs do not want (or need) their newborns to receive eye medicine.

Like it's been said, "Knowledge is Power." So, it's good to know that as a parent, you can make decisions on whether or not your child should receive some of these tests.

3 comments:

  1. Some people don't allow their newborns to go through the standard screening, but I highly encourage it! My kid is one of the ones who turned out to be positive for a rare genetic disorder that could turn out to be fatal if not propertly attended to. Screening is GOOD!

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  2. Oh, and congratulations. :)

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  3. Hey Wendy, thanks for the good wishes. Are you referring to the test where they prick the baby's heel? I've just been reading an article about that from the March 2010 issue of Parents Magazine. It's definitely crazy the amount of things they can discover and prevent!

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