Routine screening tests

Hearing Screening

All newborn babies are routinely screened for hearing loss. This will be carried out by a Neonatal Hearing Screener. You are welcome to be present during screening. There are a number of Hearing Screeners and Supervisors who are available on most days to answer any questions you may have.

Eye Screening for Retinopathy of Prematurity

Some premature and low birth weight babies may need eye screening to ensure that the retina at the back of the eye is developing properly. This is carried out on the unit by a Consultant Opthalmologist. If your baby requires screening, it will be arranged at about six weeks of age. You are welcome to be present during screening, and will be able to ask questions if you wish to.

Blood Tests

All newborns have routine screening for a number of medical conditions. These include Phenylketonuria (PKU) and Hypothyroidism. Tests for cystic Fibrosis and Muscular Dystrophy can also be undertaken at the same time should you wish. You will be given an information leaflet about these tests. A small blood sample is required.

Ultrasound Head Scan

Some babies require ultrasound head scans during their stay on Neonatal units. These are carried out by senior medical staff on the unit. The procedure is painless and only takes a few minutes. The test looks at the basic structure of the brain. The information it provides can be useful, but a normal scan does not necessarily guarantee normal long-term outcome for your child. If your baby has a head scan, one of the senior Doctors will discuss it with you in detail.

Other Routine Tests

In order to make sure the best available treatment is given to your baby, the nurses and doctors will carry out regular investigations such a s blood tests and swabs. These help units make decisions about your baby’s care. Doctors and nurses minimise any discomfort to your baby by using appropriate pain relieving medications. You will be fully updated on any results.