Newborn Tests & Treatments
When you deliver your baby at Virginia Hospital Center, your baby will receive tests and treatments to assess and protect their health.
Your baby’s pediatrician will visit you and your baby shortly after they are born. If you do not have a pediatrician at the time you deliver, a pediatrician from Children’s National Health System will see your baby during your stay. You’ll receive a separate bill from the pediatrician for their services.
Newborn Metabolic Screening
Your baby will receive a blood test to screen for more than 50 metabolic diseases, genetic disorders and anemia. Newborn metabolic screenings happen once your baby is 24 hours or older and has been through at least one feeding. A lab technician will draw blood from your baby’s heel in your room or the nursery. You will receive the results from your pediatrician within two weeks of the screening.
Rely on your care team to monitor your baby’s bilirubin level, which can show if your baby has a health condition such as anemia, jaundice or a liver problem. Babies reduce their bilirubin levels through their urine and stool.
If your baby’s bilirubin gets too high, it can cause jaundice or make your baby sick. You’ll appreciate knowing we test all babies and treat conditions before the bilirubin level becomes dangerous.
Treatment for Jaundice
If your baby has a high bilirubin level, they may receive phototherapy treatment for jaundice. Jaundice is the yellowing of the skin or eyes and happens in about 33% to 50% of babies. Your baby will lie on a blanket wearing a diaper and a mask under safe levels of ultraviolet (UV) lights.
High bilirubin levels may last past your baby’s hospital stay. Partner with your pediatrician to determine a treatment plan for after you return home.
Your baby will have a hearing test the day after birth. To test hearing, a doctor will place a soft earpiece over your baby’s ears and hook up sensors to monitor brain response to sound. This test takes ten to 15 minutes to complete and can take place at your bedside or in the nursery.
Not all babies pass the test the first time. It takes time for amniotic fluid and wax in the ear to evaporate after birth.
Oxygen Saturation Test
Once your baby is 24 hours old, they’ll receive a painless pulse oximetry (pulse ox) test to measure how much oxygen is in their blood. This test detects signs of congenital heart disease (CHD).
Additional Blood Tests
Your doctor may recommend:
- Blood glucose test – Checks for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Complete blood count (CBC) – Detects problems like anemia, infections and inflammation
Hepatitis B Vaccine
Vaccinating your baby helps protect them from serious health problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a three-shot series for hepatitis B. Your baby can receive the first shot in the Hospital. The two follow-up shots will take place at your pediatrician’s office.
Circumcision means to cut off the foreskin of the penis. Tell your doctor if you want to circumcise your son. Your doctor will help you schedule the circumcision during your Hospital stay and perform the procedure.
Congenital Heart Disease Screening
- This is done on all babies.
Car Seat Test
- Completed for all babies less than 37 weeks to ensure safe transport of babies born early.