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Newborn Care

Newborn Health Screenings

We’re here to help your baby make a smooth transition to life outside the womb. Our providers are prepared to offer any specialized care your baby may need.

Immediately after birth, your baby may have fluid in his or her lungs. A provider will clear out mucus from the nose and mouth to help your baby breathe.

After clamping and cutting the umbilical cord, your provider will check your baby using tests and assessments, and you’ll get to hold your baby. Skin-to-skin contact will keep your baby warm and begin building a loving bond.

Apgar Test

Immediately after your baby is born, he or she will be evaluated using the Apgar test. This test is performed twice, once at 1 minute after birth and again at 5 minutes after birth.

The first Apgar score evaluates how the baby tolerated the birthing process. The second score measures how your baby is doing outside the womb.

During the test, the provider will observe your baby’s:

  • Breathing
  • Heart rate
  • Muscle tone
  • Reflexes
  • Skin tone

Physical Assessment

A health care provider will measure your baby’s weight, length, head circumference, temperature and pulse.

The provider will also examine all of your baby’s body systems in a full physical assessment within the first 24 hours of life. This will include an evaluation of your baby’s:

  • Skin
  • Head
  • Neck
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Abdomen
  • Genitals
  • Nervous system
  • Reflexes
  • Muscles
  • Bones

Skin

Newborns often have bluish fingers and toes until their circulation improves. The baby may have some bruising from passing through the birth canal, and this is normal.

Some dry skin is also normal, and babies may develop a rash, which will go away in a week or two. Reddish-purple spots on the skin are normal, but if they are all over the body, your baby may need further testing.

Head and neck

During a head-first vaginal birth, a baby’s head may become slightly misshapen, but this is normal and temporary. Some bruising may also occur on the head and face.

The provider will check the baby’s eyes, ears, mouth and other features for any abnormalities that may need further evaluation.

Heart and lungs

Newborns have a normal heart rate of 120 to 160 beats per minute and a normal breathing rate of 40 to 60 breaths per minute. The provider will also check the baby’s blood pressure and oxygen saturation.

Bluish skin (other than fingers and toes) or flaring nostrils could mean the baby needs help learning to breathe outside the womb.  

Abdomen and genitals

The provider will ensure all internal organs are in the right position and that the genitals are properly shaped and positioned.

Nervous system and reflexes

Newborns have a startle reflex, rooting reflex and sucking reflex, among others, and they should be able to move their arms and legs equally.

Muscles and bones

The provider will check the baby’s flexibility, mobility and spine. The provider will also look for broken bones or dislocated joints that may have occurred during delivery.

Preventive Treatments

Right after birth, we provide several routine procedures to keep your baby healthy and safe. These include:

Eye ointment: Right after delivery, a provider will put an antibiotic eye ointment in your baby's eyes to kill any bacteria that might have passed from the mother during birth. Without this treatment, your baby could develop a serious eye infection that can cause blindness.

Vitamin K shot: Newborns have low levels of vitamin K, which helps stop bleeding. Without this shot, your baby could develop bleeding that can cause serious brain injury. The bleeding could occur suddenly, even when your baby is up to 6 months old.

Hepatitis B vaccine: Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. This vaccine protects your baby against a potentially life-threatening infection if he or she is exposed to the virus.


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