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Testing and Lab Procedures for the Newborn in Intensive Care

Babies in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) are always being checked by their nurses and other healthcare providers. Your baby will need many tests, especially blood tests. They are needed to help track your baby's health and to find possible problems.

Baby in the NICU
Baby in the NICU

Common tests or lab work your baby may have in the NICU are:

  • Blood tests to check your baby’s blood group (A, B, O) and the Rh factor (positive or negative)

  • Blood tests to see if your baby has too few red blood cells (anemia) or too many red blood cells (polycythemia)

  • Blood tests that look for infection in your baby’s blood, urine, or spinal fluid

  • Blood tests to check how much oxygen and carbon dioxide is in your baby’s blood

  • Blood tests to check your baby’s blood sugar (glucose) levels

  • Blood tests to check your baby's electrolyte levels (magnesium, calcium, and potassium)

  • X-rays to check placement of tubes or view the condition of the lungs, heart, or abdomen

Because each baby's needs are different, care may be different. Always ask your baby's healthcare provider for more information about which tests are needed for your baby.

Online Medical Reviewer: Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Lee, Kimberly G., MD, MSc, IBCLC
Date Last Reviewed: 11/1/2016
© 2000-2016 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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