Newborn Tests and Procedures


Newborn tests and procedures are important to think about before you go into labor. Here we will focus on your baby’s first few days and the newborn tests and procedures you will need to make decisions about.

If you deliver in the hospital, the moment you baby is born, he or she becomes the responsibility of a pediatrician, not your doctor or midwife. Often this means you will be dealing with whichever hospital based pediatrician is on call - someone you likely have never even met prior to when they will be examining your baby. This person will be used to following the hospitals routine newborn procedures. You need to find out ahead of time what the procedures are and what your options are for declining or delaying them.

The best way for you to communicate your wishes to the on call pediatrician is thru a newborn tests and procedures section on your birth plan.

Why you need to think about Newborn Tests and Procedures BEFORE Your Baby is Delivered

Routine procedures are there for the convenience and protection of the hospital and its staff. They are not necessarily in the best interests of your child. Many parents do not realize the impact that newborn tests and procedures can have on their newborn.

An All Too Common Scenario

The same snowball effect that can happen with interventions leading to cesareans can also happen with newborn tests and procedures. A bath leads to your baby getting cold, causing her to shake. Shaking can be a sign of low blood sugar so they test and find borderline low blood sugar (common in newborns). Then they have to roll out the protocol of testing your baby’s blood sugar every hour for a certain number of hours.

Your baby’s heels become a pin cushion and have bandages on them. You get no sleep all night due to the interruptions. You may not even realize that you could have signed a waiver and refused the bath. If your baby was shaking you could have refused the initial blood sugar test and instead breastfed your baby skin to skin to see if that stopped the shaking.

But since the test has been done and potential low blood sugar has been diagnosed your baby can be taken away from you (for neglect) if you refuse to follow the protocol of hourly testing. Next, you are tired in the middle of the night and you let them take your baby away to do the testing. While out of your sight, the nurses slip her a bottle of sugar water or formula to raise her blood sugar, ignoring your birth plan and preferences. They may even do this innocently, just following their normal procedures because they are on their own without a parent there to prevent mistakes.

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Your baby likes how easy it is to get sustenance out of a bottle and refuses to breastfeed. You give up breastfeeding and put your baby on formula causing her to develop serious gas. She cries inconsolably for the first four months of life as her intestines mature.

You continue to get no sleep. After a couple months your little baby develops a serious illness because she isn’t receiving the maternal antibodies present in mother’s milk. She is given antibiotics which mess up her intestinal tract even further.

And so it goes until your child becomes one of the many children with a serious lifelong illness that requires medication (like asthma or diabetes) OR develops severe allergies requiring constant diligence to prevent death due to an accidental exposure.

How might everything have been different if you refused the bath or at least delayed it for a few hours so that breastfeeding could have been firmly established? What if you refused to let your baby out of your sight and she was never given a bottle of sugar water or formula? As a parent you need to think about everything, including newborn tests and procedures.  

A Better Way

Here at natural parenting advice, we regard newborn tests and procedures as our first opportunity to make decisions on behalf of our children. With one-third of all children in the United States suffering from some kind of serious health condition that requires life-long medication (diabetes, asthma, allergies, auto-immune disease) or lifestyle modifications (severe nut allergies, learning disorders) we view all routine newborn tests and procedures as potential contributors that need to be scrutinized.

Something in the way that we conduct normal business when it comes to children must be awry for so many children to be sick.Currently childhood disease costs $76 billion a year. We would prefer to pay for swim lessons, not doctor’s visits. For this reason, we recommend you read about and decide which newborn tests and procedures you are comfortable with before your baby is born.

But hold on, this site is for working parents, right? How does this save us time?

As working parents, we feel that doing research and striving to make the best decisions on behalf of our children takes far less time than parenting a chronically ill child. These decisions begin the moment our child is born. Our goal is to provide you information to alert you to potential issues and provide links to more information so you can make informed decisions for your children. You don’t have to go thru the process of uncovering the issues or finding information that isn’t readily available to the public.

Disclaimer: We are only providing information here. It is your responsibility to make the best decisions for our children and to seek appropriate medical advice and care.

We hope we have convinced you that it is essential that you research, decide and then document your wishes with respect to routine newborn tests and procedures.

Newborn Tests and Procedures Include

The following are the routine newborn tests and procedures that are common if you deliver in a hospital setting. If you plan to deliver at a birth center or at home, you need to find out what the tests and procedures are since they vary widely. Although all the newborn tests and procedures we list below are done at all hospitals, when, where and how they are done can vary widely from immediately taking your baby away from you and going to another room to delaying everything until after you have had a chance to bond and breastfeed for an hour.

Why should you care when the newborn tests and procedures are performed? Because your baby has a very short window immediately after birth in which he or she will be in a quiet alert state. This is when you can really connect with your baby. You should also breast feed for the first time during this time since your baby’s sucking reflex will be the strongest. After the first hour babies enter a deeper sleep state. This is a much better time for your baby to be examined, weighted, measured, etc.

Newborn tests and procedures for you to consider are:

  • If, when, and how you want suctioning performed
  • Almost all babies are weighed and their length is measured, you can determine when you want this assessment to take place If you want your baby washed and if so when the bath will take place
  • When you want the umbilical cord clamped and who you want to cut it
  • Whether or not you want ointment put in your child’s eyes and if so when
  • When you want the PKU testing to be performed
  • Whether or not you want Vitamin K to be given to your baby, when and how (injection or drops)
  • Whether or not you want your newborn to be given a Hepatitis B vaccine
  • If you have a boy, if and when you want him circumcised

Make sure you document your preferences with regard to newborn tests and procedures on your birth plan.

Now, let’s discuss each of the newborn tests and procedures in detail.

Links to more information

You can also click on any of the links above for more information.

A wonderful online childbirth class
Congressional Testimony about the Hepititis B Vaccination
Reasons to say NO to Vaccines
Why is the Hepatitis B Vaccine Given to Newborns?
Negative Effects of Early Cord Clamping
National Vaccine Information Center