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As a mom, you want to make the best decisions for you and your baby. Get the information you need to make informed decisions regarding screenings, immunizations, breastfeeding and much more.
When you are 5 to 7 months pregnant, you should preregister online with
the hospital where you’ll deliver your baby.
Bilirubin screening is performed on all newborns before leaving the hospital. The screening uses a blood test or non-invasive test to measure your newborn’s bilirubin levels.
A high bilirubin level causes jaundice, a yellow discoloration of the eyes and skin. Jaundice is a common condition in newborns that often goes away a few days after birth. However, newborns with high bilirubin levels might need treatment to prevent serious problems, such as brain damage.
If your baby’s bilirubin level is high, your pediatrician will give you instructions on follow-up and treatment.
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 hearing screening. 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 Virtua in Motion - Mount Holly. Call (609) 261-5001 for more information.
Within 48 hours of 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.
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.
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, call the Association of Family Cord Blood Banks at 1-888-932-0510. Before arriving at Virtua’s labor and delivery unit, please review the collection kit’s instructions and fill out any necessary paperwork.
Pertussis, 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.
The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services requires that each birthing facility perform a pulse oximetry screening on every newborn in its care a minimum of 24 hours after birth. The pulse oximetry screening is a non-invasive test that is used to rule out critical congenital heart disease in newborns. Newborns with abnormal results require immediate confirmatory testing and interventions, which will be coordinated by our baby’s doctor during your stay if needed.
You have just had a baby and you no doubt have questions. Learn about your baby’s behavior, sleep patterns, bathing, burping, treating diaper rash and more.
Armed with this information, you’ll have the confidence to take your baby home and make a smooth transition into motherhood.
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