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Maternal and Newborn Care Unit
While You Are Here - Tests and Procedures

Tests and Procedures for Mothers

Blood Work:

When mothers give birth, they lose a moderate amount of blood. The morning after you give birth, the lab (phlebotomy) will collect a small blood sample from you to determine if you will need to take an iron pill.

Whooping Cough (Pertussis) Vaccine:

"Nurse giving injectionWhooping cough" (Pertussis) is a serious bacterial infection of the lungs and throat. About 1 in 200 infants who get Whooping Cough could die. To protect your baby, it is recommended that all new parents receive a Whooping Cough vaccine. Mothers will be offered their vaccine while in the hospital, free of charge.

Fathers and other infant caregivers can make an appointment with their nearest Population and Public Health office to receive the vaccine free of charge.

WinRho and Rh Factor:

Mothers may require a product called WinRho (Rh Immune Globulin.) WinRho is given to women who are Rh negative. You will receive your first dose during your pregnancy. This is to prevent you from producing antibodies against this baby or babies of future pregnancies. Depending on your blood type and your baby's blood type, you may require a second dose after your baby is born. Your doctor can discuss the potential risks with you. To find out more about WinRho and Rh Factor, click here​.

Tests and Procedures for Babies

​Routine tests and procedures on all babies are done during the first days after birth. Holding, soothing and breastfeeding your baby while tests are done helps your baby cope with pain.

This video describes the benefits of breastfeeding your baby during any potentially painful procedures.

First Bath:

Your baby can have their first bath after they are 18-24 hours old and once their temperature has stabilized. If this is your first baby, your nurse can demonstrate bathing techniques for you. If you wish to bath your baby yourself, the nurse can assist you. Skin-to-skin contact with your baby immediately following their bath will help your baby to regulate their body temperature and feel soothed.

Jaundice Test:

Infant being testedJaundice is the yellow color seen in the skin of newborns when a compound called bilirubin builds up in the baby's blood. Jaundice is common in newborns and in most cases is a natural part of the baby's adjustment to life. After your baby is 24 hours old, your nurse will test your baby for bilirubin, either by collecting a blood sample or by using a special meter that sends a quick flash of light through the skin.
More information on Jaundice.


Newborn Screening Blood work:

Baby breastfeedingAfter your baby is 24 hours of age, your nurse will collect a blood sample from your baby for the Newborn Screening which tests for over 30 different metabolic and endocrine disorders. This is done by pricking the heel of your baby. Holding, soothing and breastfeeding your baby while tests are done helps your baby cope with pain.

Your nurse does not receive the results of this test. Instead, the Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory will contact your Doctor if they find any abnormal results. More information on Newborn Screening. 


Blood Sugar (Glucose) Test:

Some babies may require blood sugar (glucose) testing. Some reasons include if you were diabetic before or during your pregnancy, if your baby is larger or smaller than expected, if your baby arrives before their due date or if your baby is generally unwell. Blood glucose is tested by pricking the heel of your baby to get a small drop of blood right before your baby eats. This may be done for up to 36 hours after your baby is born.

Nurse measuring baby Head Measurements (Circumferences):

Babies born with the assistance of vacuum or forceps are at an increased risk of developing bruising due to broken blood vessels between their skull bones and their skin. Your nurse may need to measure your ​baby's head circumference more frequently in this case. This may be done for up to 12 hours after your baby is born.

Newborn Hearing Screening:

Newborn hearing screening is available for all infants. It is estimated that between 3 and 6 babies in every 1000 born will have some degree of hearing loss which can interfere with speech and language development. Newborn hearing screening is provided on the unit. Check with your nurse for more information.


Your baby will be weighed in the Birthing Unit. Most babies do not need to be weighed again until the night before you go home. It is common in newborns to lose up to 7 to 10% of their birth weight and in most cases is a natural part of the baby's adjustment to life. Before you go home, your baby will be weighed to ensure that their weight loss has been normal.​

Last Modified: Sunday, September 29, 2019 |
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