Rounding on Newborns

Dr. Taylor and I currently rotate call every other week.  We take any and all calls after hours and we cover the newborn nursery rounding in the St. Luke’s Boise and St. Luke’s Meridian hospitals for the newborns.  It is one of our most favorite aspects of our job to witness the miracle of birth and first connections made between parent and child.

After delivery, a new mother can often feel overwhelmed due to exhaustion but also because of multiple treatments and tests to be done for her baby.  The purpose of this commentary is to simply review a couple of important treatments recommended for your baby and try to eliminate any falsities that exist regarding these treatments.

“Eyes and Thighs are done!”  When we receive a report from the nursing staff, most of the time we hear that statement.  However, at times we hear that families decline the erythromycin eye ointment and the Vitamin K shot.

Eyes:  Gonococcal Ophthalmia Neonatorum is a severe eye infection that can lead to blindness.  Newborns can also get Chlamydial conjunctivitis that can also lead to severe infection.  In Idaho in 2018 the rate of gonorrhea in females was 59/100,000 and chlamydia was 520/100,000.  The erythromycin eye ointment recommended after birth prevents both of these infections in newborns and does so with minimal to no side effects.

Thighs:  It has been long known that newborns are generally born with deficiencies in their Vitamin K.  Vitamin K helps the body to clot and prevent bleeding.  When deficient, there is a risk of vitamin K deficient bleeding disease which can lead to severe bleeding with either internal organs including the brain or external bleeding.  One single injection of Vitamin K into a newborn’s muscle reduces this risk significantly.  It must be injected as oral Vitamin K does not get absorbed well enough to reduce the risk.

Lies:  Please be careful of what you read on the internet.  There are many myths and outright lies that exist regarding treatments that have saved lives and proven safe for mother and baby for decades.  We recommend resources such as the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, or the American Academy of Family Physicians.  These resources will provide you evidence-based information to guide you with treatment decisions.

In addition, please see the statement found HERE regarding other tests/treatments recommended for your newborn soon after birth.

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