When your baby is just born, you'll probably want to do nothing but stare into their eyes, snuggle, and marvel at this perfect little creature you've just delivered. It can be hard to let go of your new bundle of joy for even a moment, but your doctors and nurses are going to want to get their hands on that baby. There are a slew of tests and vaccines your baby will be offered in the first 48 hours of life, and they can create a hubbub of activity.
Hospital staff will probably be popping into your room, and your brain will most likely be in a fog from the moment you enter the hospital. (That tends to happen when you go through an intense life changing ordeal like labor.) And of course, you’ll be even more distracted by your little cutie. That’s why it’s a good idea to read up beforehand on what exams will be done to your baby and what shots they might be given. You can opt out of them, but there will be risks involved that you should speak your doctor about. Here are the most common tests and vaccines you’ll be offered, and what you need to know about them.
1. Hearing Test
Hearing tests are pretty simple, and your baby actually doesn't even need to be awake for them. There are two different types, and neither will hurt your baby in any way according to My Baby's Hearing. One is called the Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Test, and it works by playing sounds directly into the baby's ear. If the baby's hearing is normal, the sound will echo back through the ear canal. The second kind of test is called Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test. Sounds are again played into the baby's ear, but this time electrode's attached to his or her head measure how the brain responds to those sounds.
2. Blood Tests
When your baby is about a day old, hospital staff will typically draw blood from the baby's heel. This blood is used to screen for dozens of different conditions. Each state has different requirements, but the American Pregnancy Associatio noted that some of the most common conditions usually screened for include phenylketonuria, sickle cell disease, and cystic fibrosis. Baby's First Test noted that 4 million babies receive these screenings every year, and 5,000 will end up having one of the conditions. It also noted that you can opt out for religion reasons.
3. Pulse Oximetry Test
This test screens for congenital heart diseases, according to March of Dimes. It's also simple and painless. Your doctor or nurse will attach a small sensor to the baby's foot or finger measuring how much oxygen is in their blood, which is an indication of proper heart function.
4. Hepatitis B
Your baby will need the first dose of the Hepatitis B vaccine before leaving the hospital, according to The Bump. It helps prevent Hepatitis B, a serious condition can lead to liver problems and cancer. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strongly recommended the shot and noted that it's very safe, but you can opt out if you wish.
5. Vitamin K
The vitamin K shot will be given to your baby as early as possible, according to Fit Pregnancy. That's typically within their first hour of life. The CDC noted that the shot helps prevent vitamin k deficiency bleeding, a condition that can lead to brain damage and even death. You can refuse the shot altogether, but your doctor won't be thrilled. You can also opt to use vitamin k drops instead, according to What to Expect.