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Newborn Screening and Procedures

PinnacleHealth makes sure that all babies receive the screenings, tests and procedures designed to prevent problems and treat any underlying health issues that may be present.

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Pregnancy & Childbirth

Once your baby has made an entrance into the world, PinnacleHealth’s providers perform a variety of screenings and tests to make sure that he or she is healthy and doesn’t need additional care. Most of these tests are noninvasive – in fact, you might not even realize that your baby is being tested during the first minutes after birth. Once you transfer to the maternity unit, your healthcare team will care for your baby and perform additional tests in the comfort of your room.

The standard tests and procedures that all babies receive after birth include:

  • APGAR:  At one and five minutes after birth the baby’s breathing, heart rate, skin color, muscle tone, and reflexes will be assessed. Your baby is given points for how well he or she is adjusting to the outside world. The average score is between 7 and 9.
  • Eye Prophylaxis: After birth, a provider will place medication in the infant’s eyes to prevent potential infection or blindness from gonorrhea and Chlamydia infections.
  • Foot Printing and Identification Bands: This is done in the birth room or delivery room for the identification of the infant.
  • Vitamin K: An injection into the baby’s thigh muscle prevents internal bleeding.
  • Hepatitis B Vaccination: Many pediatricians recommend starting Hepatitis B vaccine in the hospital. This is a series of three injections to immunize the child against Hepatitis B. Babies receive the other two injections during the pediatric visits at two and six months.
  • Newborn Metabolic Screening: For this test, a provider takes a small amount of blood from the infant’s heel and applies it to a special card to test for these conditions: phenylketonuria (PKU), hypothyroidism, sickle cell, galacosemia and congenital adrenal hyperplasia, Maple Syrup Urine Disease and other genetic disorders. Many of these diseases can be treated before problems occur.
  • Bilirubin Screening: At 24 hours of age, your baby is screened for newborn jaundice. In the first two to five days after birth, some babies may develop a yellow to orange color in their skin and whites of their eyes caused by bilirubin, the normal product of the breakdown of red blood cells. Your healthcare providers will watch for jaundice and will test your baby for her bilirubin level. They may use a light test on your baby’s forehead and/or may prick your baby’s heel for a blood test. If bilirubin levels are too high, your baby will be treated with special blue lights (phototherapy) or a “bili-bed” and extra fluids to prevent damage to nerve cells in her brain. This treatment usually lasts a few days. If your baby needs light treatment, your physician and nurse will give you more information.
  • Hearing Screening: Your baby will be screened for hearing problems before leaving the hospital.  Babies who don’t pass this initial hearing screening will need another screening. If you have any questions or concerns or need another screening for your baby, talk with your baby’s doctor.


Whether for religious or personal reasons, some families choose to circumcise male babies.    Circumcision is a surgical procedure that cuts away the foreskin, which is the skin covering the glans (head of the penis).

The healthcare providers at PinnacleHealth will respect and support your choice. Talk with your obstetrician for more information about circumcision, and ask about possible complications and the special care that your baby will need.

Also, check with your insurance provider to be sure the cost of circumcision is covered by your policy. As with any surgical procedure, you will need to sign a consent form for circumcision.