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Diseases & Conditions : High-Risk Newborn

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Testing and Lab Procedures for the Newborn in Intensive Care

Babies in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) need frequent examinations and monitoring as part of their care. Although many tests require drawing blood from your baby, they are necessary to help monitor your baby's condition and to identify potential problems.

Common tests or lab work in the NICU may include the following:

  • Blood typing--to check the blood group (A, B, O) and the Rh factor (positive or negative)

  • Testing for anemia (too few red blood cells) or polycythemia (too many red blood cells)

  • Testing for infection in the blood, urine, or spinal fluid

  • Blood gases to measure oxygen levels and carbon dioxide

  • Blood sugar

  • Electrolyte levels

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

Each baby's needs and care is different. Always consult your baby's doctor for more information about which tests are needed for your baby.