Children's Health and Wellness

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 health care providers. Your baby will need many tests, especially blood tests. They are necessary to help track your baby's health and to find possible problems.

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

  • 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

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

Online Source: American Academy of Pediatrics. Getting Ready to Leave the NICUhttp://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/preemie/pages/Getting-Ready-to-Leave-the-NICU.aspx
Online Source: March of Dimes. Common NICU Testshttp://www.marchofdimes.com/baby/common-nicu-tests.aspx
Online Editor: Sims, Jane
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically-affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Trevino, Heather M., BSN, RNC
Date Last Reviewed: 9/29/2014
© 2000-2014 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.