Newborn Care in the United States
Prior to the birth of your baby you will need to think a bit about the American standard of newborn care, including your child’s first vaccination. While all parents have the option to opt out of receiving these treatments, most parents choose to follow the standard of care during their stateside stay. Here’s a look at the treatments most American born babies will receive during the first month of life.
Immediately following birth, your child will receive either eye drops or an eye ointment in order to prevent possible eye infections. These infections can occur when the carrier has a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as Gonorrhea or Chlamydia. If you choose to refuse treatment and an infection were to occur, blindness can result. You should note that all babies receive eye drops regardless of the carrier’s medical history. Treatment of drops is not an indication that your surrogate currently has, or has ever had, an STI.
Your newborn will be given a shot of vitamin K to the upper thigh. Most infants are born with low levels of vitamin K, an important element in helping blood to clot. Failure to receive this shot can lead to a rare but serious bleeding condition.
A nurse will prick your infant’s heel to collect a small blood sample. This sample will be used to test for diseases and rare health problems. Some developmental diseases, organ damage, and blindness can be prevented as a result of the early detection this test provides.
Standard of care dictated by the American Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that all children should receive the Hepatitis B (HVB) vaccine within 12 hours of birth. This is the first in a series of three shots to complete the vaccination. The second shot should be received between the first and second month of life with the third shot administered sometime between 24 weeks and 18 months of life.
Before your child is discharged, a doctor will also perform a newborn hearing screening to test how your baby responds to sound.
International intended parents need to appoint a pediatrician during the stateside stay. If you’re comfortable, consider asking your surrogate who she uses for her own children. This common acquaintance can create warmth and trust on both sides for your child’s care during those first tender weeks.