Newborn Tests & Decisions | Obstetrics | Dartmouth-Hitchcock
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Newborn Tests & Decisions

Procedures required by the state of New Hampshire

After your baby is born and before you go home:

  • We will put erythromycin ointment in your baby's eyes to guard against newborn eye infections and blindness.
  • We will give your baby a blood test for various conditions that might be treatable if detected early. The newborn screening tests for 33 disorders such as cystic fibrosis. We collect the blood with a simple, quick heel stick. We will perform a safe, noninvasive hearing test.

Other procedures

  • Infants who acquire Hepatitis B can develop lifelong infections, so we recommend a Hepatitis B vaccine, given three times over the baby's first six months.
  • A Vitamin K injection helps develop the baby's blood-clotting ability. We give this injection within an hour of birth.
  • We also collect blood to check the baby's bilirubin level (to ensure he or she does not have jaundice)
  • In some instances, a baby may need a blood sugar test. You can discuss this with your pediatrician.

Circumcision

If you have a boy and opt for circumcision, it can be done the day after birth.

Newborn blood test

The state of New Hampshire requires us to test your baby's blood for particular conditions after birth. These conditions, if found early, can often be treated, avoiding serious problems as your baby grows. These tests can all be taken from one blood sample.

  • Phenylketonuria: the inability to break down the amino acid phenylalanine
  • Congenital Hypothyroidism: the lack of thyroid hormone, which can lead to poor growth and mental retardation
  • Galactosemia: the inability to digest milk or formula
  • Maple Syrup Urine Disease: the inability to break down certain proteins
  • Homocystinuria: the inability to break down the amino acid methionine
  • Congenital Toxoplasmosis: an infection that may lead to mental retardation or blindness
  • Hemoglobin Disorders: conditions including sickle cell disease, which can lead to anemia, pain, poor growth and infections
  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia: a group of adrenal gland disorders

Read more about the benefits of newborn screening tests (National Newborn Screening and Genetics Resource Center).

For more information related to newborn tests and decisions, please refer to the following articles on our Dartmouth-Hitchcock Healthwise® Health Encyclopedia website:

  • Hepatitis A and B Vaccine: Information about the hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine.
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU): A topic about Phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare genetic disorder in which the body cannot break down an amino acid called phenylalanine.
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