Women's Health Services | Newborn Screening

After your baby is born there are several procedures, screenings and tests performed to ensure your baby’s health and safety.

Procedures & Tests

The following procedures and tests are routinely done on all newborns. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your pediatrician before you deliver. (If you would like to download a brochure containing this information, click here.)

Baby Footprints
We provide one set of your newborn’s footprints as a keepsake before discharge.

Car Seat Tolerance Test 
For babies born at less than 37 weeks of pregnancy, your baby’s breathing and oxygen will be monitored in your infant car seat for one hour. This will check to see if it is safe to put your baby in the infant seat for the ride home. If this test is required you will need to bring your infant car seat to the hospital a day prior to going home so that the test can be done.

Daily Pediatric Exams
Choosing a pediatric provider before your baby is born is important. This may allow the provider to see your baby during the hospital stay. You may also request to meet with the provider before your baby’s birth. If your provider does not come to Hartford Hospital, the hospital pediatric providers or covering pediatricians will see your baby. For a list of pediatric providers who see patients at Hartford Hospital, click here, or call the Hartford Hospital Health Referral Center at 860.545.1888 (toll-free 1.800.545.7664).

Erythromycin Eye Ointment
This is applied to both baby’s eyes in the first hour after birth and protects against a serious eye infection.

Hepatitis B Vaccine - First Dose 
Given in your baby’s thigh muscle in the first 4 hours of life, this safe vaccine protects your baby right from birth against a serious viral infection of the liver. Hepatitis B can be fatal or result in your baby becoming a carrier for life. (For more information, download a "Hepatitis B Information Sheet" from the CDC.)

Jaundice (Bilirubin) Screen
In order to measure the level of jaundice (yellow pigment) in your baby’s skin, a monitor is placed on your baby’s forehead for a few seconds. This gives a reading, and if high, a blood test for bilirubin is done. Some jaundice is normal but a high level can be harmful.

Security Bands
As soon as your baby is born, identification bands will be put on the baby and mother. Another band is available for fathers or other support persons identified by the mother. DO NOT REMOVE THESE BANDS BEFORE YOUR BABY GOES HOME. YOU CANNOT ENTER THE NURSERY OR TAKE YOUR BABY TO YOUR ROOM WITHOUT THESE BANDS IN PLACE. SPECIAL NOTE: For the safety and security of your baby, we ask that when walking in the hallways, you keep your baby in the bassinet.

Vitamin K Injection
Given in your baby’s thigh muscle in the first 4 hours of life, this protects against a bleeding disorder in the first weeks of life until your baby can make his/her own vitamin K.

State of Connecticut Mandatory Tests

The following tests and procedures are mandated by the State of Connecticut and are performed on all newborns before discharge from the hospital (for more information, visit https://portal.ct.gov/DPH):

Critical Congenital Heart Defect (CCHD) Screening
This noninvasive newborn screening for critical congenital heart defects involves a simple test called pulse oximetry. This test estimates the amount of oxygen in a baby’s blood. Low levels of oxygen in the blood can be a sign of critical CHD. This test is done using a machine called a pulse oximeter, with sensors placed on the baby’s skin. The test is painless and takes only a few minutes.

Cystic Fibrosis Screen 
This screening is recommended for all newborns with parental consent. Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited disease affecting a child’s mucus and sweat glands. Early diagnosis can improve care and quality of life. A small amount of blood is sent to the University of Connecticut Laboratory (860.679.4439) and is tested for a protein (IRT) that is increased in cystic fibrosis. A DNA test is also done on the same blood. If this is abnormal, your provider will be notified and will refer your baby for a sweat test.

Hearing Screen
This is a non-invasive test for early detection of hearing loss. It takes about 5 minutes. If your baby does not pass the test, a referral will be made for further testing after discharge.

Metabolic Screen
About 30 hours after birth a small amount of blood is taken from your baby’s heel. It is sent to the State Laboratory to screen for multiple rare metabolic disorders. Your baby’s provider will be notified of an abnormal result.

Tips for a Healthy Beginning

Breastfeed to give your baby the best start in life and natural protection against common infections. If you cannot breastfeed, ask about safe alternatives.

Room-in together so you can respond to your baby’s cues and feel more comfortable caring for your baby before you go home. Studies show that mothers do not actually get more rest if babies are in the nursery.

Please do not sleep with your baby in your bed or chair. Babies have fallen out of parents’ arms to the floor when a parent has fallen asleep.

Place your baby on his or her back to sleep. This decreases the risk of sudden infant death.

Never shake a baby! Ask about ways to calm a crying baby and cope with crying.

Have a tobacco-free home.

Ensure a safe ride home in an approved infant car seat placed in the back seat facing the rear. Ensure that your infant car seat is installed correctly (call 211 for testing sites) or visit ctsafekids.org.

Rest as much as possible – arrange for help in the first few weeks.

Women's Health Services

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    Please Note: If you should experience any pain or bleeding, or believe that there is something wrong with your pregnancy, call your health care provider immediately, go to your hospital's emergency room, or dial 911 for help.
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    Preparing for your Maternity Stay
    It is very important to choose your baby’s doctor before coming to the hospital to deliver your baby.

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