Children's Health and Wellness

Testing and Lab Procedures for the Newborn in Intensive Care

Babies in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) need frequent exams 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.

Baby in the NICU

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.

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: Metzger, Geri
Online Medical Reviewer: Finke, Amy, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 6/28/2013
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 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.