Baby Wellness Tests
Certain medical tests and procedures will be performed on your baby in the labor and delivery room. They will be done quickly and unobtrusively, either immediately after birth or shortly thereafter. The tests measure your child's health and check that his bodily systems are firing on the right cylinders.
The first test your child will receive is the Apgar. This is an acronym for the categories that the test scores: appearance, pulse, grimace (reflex), and respiration. The Apgar is administered twice—the first time at one minute after birth, and the second time at five minutes after. The child receives scores in each of the four categories, with most babies receiving a passing mark of seven to ten. Here are some other tests and procedures that the medical staff may administer:
Suction nose to clear air passages.
Clamp umbilical cord (after you cut it).
Weigh and measure baby.
Visually inspect baby, and count fingers and toes.
Measure circumference of head.
Apply eye drops or ointment to prevent infection.
Give vitamin K injection to promote blood clotting.
Draw blood from baby's heel for disease screening.
Perform other types of blood screenings.
Depending on hospital policy, some of these tests, such as the vitamin K shot and the heel prick, may not need to be administered immediately. You may ask for them to be done a little later, allowing you and your partner to first spend some time with the baby. Another routine but essential part of a hospital birth is having identification bracelets placed on your baby, your partner, and you. Everyone wants to be sure that you take the right child home with you.