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Protecting Your Baby

Newborn hearing screening

New Jersey law requires that all babies have their hearing screened before leaving the hospital. Unless it’s against your religious beliefs, your baby will undergo a quick and painless test that will measure your baby's hearing. You will get the results before you leave the hospital.

Most babies pass the hearing screening, but some may need to have their hearing checked again. If your baby needs to be re-screened, ask your nurse, pediatrician or audiologist for more information.   For more information on re-screening, call 1-888-Virtua-3 (1-888-847-8823). Re-screenings can be performed at the Virtua Rehabilitation Network in Mount Holly. Call (609) 261-5001 for more information.

Newborn metabolic screening

Within 48 hours of your baby’s birth, Virtua will test your baby for more than 50 rare, but treatable, metabolic disorders. If not detected early, many of these conditions can result in severe health problems. On the other hand, early treatment of metabolic disorders usually results in a positive outcome. This analysis requires only a few drops of blood obtained from pricking your baby’s heel. If the results are abnormal, they will be sent to your baby’s physician shortly after discharge.

Virtua’s newborn metabolic screening program is comprehensive and meets New Jersey state law. It also follows the recommendations of the American College of Medical Genetics, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the March of Dimes.

Supplemental newborn screening

There is a private company that tests for the same disorders covered in Virtua’s metabolic screening program with an additional test for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD deficiency). This deficiency is not life threatening and often has symptoms associated with it such as severe jaundice (a yellowish discoloration of the skin) and anemia (a lower than normal red blood cell number). Patients at highest risk are male babies of African-American, Middle Eastern or South Asian heritage.

This additional testing is optional. If you choose to have your baby tested, you can purchase a screening kit from Perkin-Elmer Genetics. You will need to purchase the kit a few months prior to delivery.

To order, call (866) 463-6436 or log on to www.perkinelmergenetics.com.

Questions about metabolic or supplemental screening?

E-mail your questions to childbirthconnection@virtua.org. You’ll receive an answer within one week of submission.

Umbilical cord blood donation

If you would like to donate your baby’s cord blood, consult your physician and then call Lifebank USA at (877) 543-3226 6 weeks prior to your delivery. Lifebank will send you a healthy history questionnaire. Fill out the questionnaire and return to Lifebank. Once you qualify, a kit will be sent to you. Remember to bring the kit with you to the hospital. Donating is free. Please check with your physician to see if other fees apply. This process is anonymous and available to anyone in need.

Private cord blood banking

If you are interested in reserving your baby’s stem cells for your personal and family use, private blood banks will store your baby’s umbilical cord blood for a fee. Typically, there is a one time enrollment fee and an annual maintenance fee.

If you choose to privately bank your baby’s cord blood, first ask your obstetrician which blood bank he/she recommends. If you need additional options, log on to the Association of Family Cord Blood Banks or call them at (888) 932-0510.

Before arriving at Virtua’s labor and delivery unit, please review the collection kit’s instructions and fill out any necessary paperwork.

Pertussis immunization

Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. In 1/3 of childhood pertussis cases, the parent passed the disease to the child.

To help prevent the spread of pertussis, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends new mothers be immunized if they have not been immunized in the past two years.

After you deliver, you will be offered information regarding the Tdap vaccine – this is a combination vaccine to protect you from tetanus and pertussis. After you have reviewed the information and agreed to be vaccinated, your nurse will administer it at no additional cost to you.

HIV and pregnancy 
Smoking cessation

VirtuaBaby content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you’ve read on VirtuaBaby. If you think you are experiencing a medical emergency, call your  doctor or 911 immediately.

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