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Routine Procedures at Birth

APGAR Score

  • Breathing, heart rate, muscle tone, reflexes and skin colour make up this score.
  • The health-care provider checks baby at 1 minute, 5 minutes and 10 minutes after delivery.
  • Most babies have an APGAR score of 7 – 10 (these are good scores).

Cord Blood

  • After birth there is blood that remains in the umbilical cord and the placenta.
  • This blood from baby’s umbilical cord is collected to check baby’s health immediately after birth.
  • You can donate this cord blood to a public cord blood bank. There is no charge.
  • You may also collect cord blood using a private bank. You must pay for private banks.
  • Cord blood is collected because it contains stems cells, which can be used to treat some disorders and disease.

Delayed Cord Clamping

Delaying the clamping of the cord blood can increase iron stores, which can decrease the risk for anemia for baby.
Talk to your obstetrician or midwife about this option.

Vitamin K

  • This vitamin is important in the normal clotting of blood.
  • Babies do not have it when they are born.
  • A needle is given at birth to prevent bleeding.
  • You can breastfeed or hold your baby while it is given.
  • After a few days, the baby begins to produce vitamin K for himself or herself.

Eye Infection Prevention

  • In Ontario, all babies currently receive antibiotic eye ointment in each eye after birth.
  • This is done to prevent an eye infection that can lead to blindness.
  • This infection is caused by gonorrhea or Chlamydia.
  • The Canadian Pediatric Society has issued a position statement that may change this practice in the future.

Newborn Screening

  • A blood sample is taken after the first 24 hours. This is used to see if baby is at risk for many different diseases. You may want to breastfeed and hold your baby skin to skin to lessen the pain and comfort baby during this procedure.
  • This test is required by the Province of Ontario.
  • All of these are very serious disorders. All can be treated if detected early.

Jaundice Screening

  • Before birth, baby needs extra red blood cells to give him or her enough oxygen.
  • Following birth, baby no longer needs these, and they begin to break down.
  • This releases yellow bilirubin, which the liver processes.
  • The extra bilirubin in the blood gives the baby a yellow appearance in the skin and the whites of the eyes.
  • A blood sample is taken between 24 and 72 hours after baby is born.
  • Half of all babies develop jaundice by day 3. It usually disappears in 1 week.
  • Small, frequent feeds every 2-4 hours from birth will help prevent jaundice.

Hearing Screening

  • The Ontario Infant Hearing Program provides free screening of all newborns for hearing problems
  • Ask your health care provider where and when the hearing test will occur.
  • Early detection and treatment of hearing problems is important to help ensure that your baby will develop speech, language, and social skills.
  • If there is a concern, or the hospital staff did not get a good result, they will send a referral to the Health Unit.
  • The Health Unit’s community screener will contact you a few weeks after baby is born.

Circumcision

  • Circumcision is a surgical procedure that removes the layer of skin called that foreskin that covers the head of the penis.
  • It is usually done during the first few days after birth.
  • Circumcision is not a medically necessary procedure and is currently not recommended by the Canadian Pediatric Society.
  • It is not covered by OHIP

References:

Caring For Kids (online) 2015
Ontario Newborn Screening Program (online), 2016
Ontario Prental Key Messages (online) 2016
Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, 2015

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