Your Baby's Care After Delivery

Your Baby's Care After Delivery


Right after birth, babies need to have tests and procedures to ensure their health.


Apgar evaluation

The Apgar is a test to assess the baby’s overall health and to see if extra medical care may be needed. The baby is scored with the Apgar twice: 1 minute after birth and again 5 minutes. The signs of the baby's condition include:

  • Heart rate
  • Breathing
  • Activity and muscle tone
  • Reflexes
  • Skin color


Other checks

Soon after delivery, the care team will also:

  • Check vital signs
  • Do a physical assessment
  • Measure weight, length, and head size.
  • Take the baby's temperature


Eye medicine

Your baby will receive eye ointment to prevent eye infections they can get during delivery.


Vitamin K shot

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all newborns get a shot of vitamin K in the upper leg. Newborns usually have low levels of vitamin K in their bodies. This vitamin is needed for the blood to clot. Low levels of vitamin K can cause a rare but serious bleeding problem. Research shows that vitamin K shots prevent dangerous bleeding in newborns.


Heel Stick

After 24 hours, a few drops of blood will be taken from your baby’s heel to screen for 36 different health conditions. If found right away, serious problems like developmental disabilities, organ damage, blindness, and even death might be prevented. The results are given to the hospital and your baby’s doctor to share with you.


Critical Congenital Heart Disease

After 24 hours, the oxygen level in your baby’s blood is checked with a small sensor on the baby’s hand and foot. This helps find problems affecting the structure of the baby’s heart and how it works.


Hearing Test

Your baby is checked for hearing loss because it can impact speech and language development. There are 2 tests that may be done.  Each test is safe and has no risk to your baby. You will get the results before your baby goes home.


Hepatitis B vaccine

Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all babies because of the high risk that children younger than 18 years of age, if infected, will carry the disease the rest of their lives, passing it to others. This is called being a carrier. Vaccination also protects children from HBV if they are exposed to infection as teenagers or adults. Although HBV infection has no cure, it can be prevented with the Hepatitis B vaccine.


© 2017 – August 1, 2019, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

This handout is for informational purposes only. Talk with your doctor or healthcare team if you have any questions about your care. For more health information, call the Library for Health Information at 614-293-3707 or email: