After your premature baby is moved to the NICU,(stands for Neonatal intensive care unit) he or she may undergo a number of tests. Some are ongoing,
while others may be performed only if the NICU staff suspects a particular complication.
Possible tests for your premature baby may include:
Breathing and heart rate monitor. Your baby's breathing and heart
rate are monitored on a continuous basis. Blood pressure readings are done frequently, too
Fluid input and output. The NICU team carefully tracks how much fluid your baby takes in
through feedings and intravenous fluids and how much fluid your baby loses through wet or soiled diapers.
Blood samples are collected through a heel stick or
a needle inserted into a vein to monitor a number of critical substances, including calcium, glucose and bilirubin levels in your baby's blood.
A blood sample may also be analyzed to measure the red blood cell count and check for anemia or assess for an infection.
Echocardiogram. This test is an ultrasound of the heart to check for problems with your baby's heart
function. Much like a fetal ultrasound, an electrocardiogram uses sound waves to produce moving images on a display monitor.
Eye exam. An ophthalmologist (eye doctor) may examine your baby's eyes and vision
to check for problems with the retina (retinopathy of prematurity).
Ultrasound scan. Ultrasound scans may be done to check the brain
for bleeding or fluid buildup or to examine the abdominal organs for
problems in the gastrointestinal tract, liver or kidneys.