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Keeping Your Baby Healthy

Newborn screening tests

Soon after your baby is born, a nurse will draw a few drops of blood for a test required by state law for all newborns. The blood draw is simple and safe for your baby. The test looks for a number of rare diseases that can cause brain damage or other serious complications if not treated shortly after birth. When these diseases are quickly discovered and treated, most problems can be prevented.

Newborn vaccinations and medications

While in the hospital, your baby will also receive some essential medications and vaccinations. These are given routinely, but it is a good idea to make sure your baby receives the following:

Hepatitis B vaccination - Hepatitis B can cause serious liver damage. Your baby may receive the first of three hepatitis B vaccinations while in the hospital.

Vitamin K injections - State law requires that all newborns receive a dose of vitamin K, which is essential to blood clotting. Some infants do not have enough vitamin K and, as a result, could develop abnormal bleeding if not given the vitamin at birth.

Erythromycin eye ointment - To avoid the possibility of serious eye infection, erythromycin ointment is placed in your newborn's eyes within a few hours of birth.