top of page

What to expect at hospital for newborn

When most people are preparing for the birth of their child, they focus on the actual birth itself. However, it is also helpful to be aware of what happens immediately after the baby is born.

If you are giving birth in a hospital, it is a good idea to know what to expect during your stay. This includes how long you will stay in the hospital, what care your baby will receive, and what potential issues or challenges may arise.

Immediately after the birth, your baby will be evaluated by a healthcare provider. They will perform a check of your baby's reflexes and vital signs, called the Apgar test. This will help to determine if your baby needs any urgent medical care.

Your baby may also receive a vitamin K shot and eye drops. These are routine procedures that help to protect your baby's health.

Finally, your baby may be placed on a warming bed to help regulate their temperature. This is especially important for premature babies or babies who have been exposed to cold temperatures during the birth process.

Newborn Baby

What does Apgar stand for?

 During an Apgar test, a provider will measure your baby’s:

  • A — Appearance (skin coloration).

  • P — Pulse (heart rate).

  • G — Grimace (reflex response).

  • A — Activity (muscle tone).

  • R — Respiration (breathing).

The Apgar score is a quick test that is given to newborns to assess their health immediately after birth. The test measures five things: heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, reflex response, and skin color. Each of these things is scored on a scale of 0 to 2, and the five scores are added together to get a total score.

A score of 7 or more is considered normal. A score of 4 to 6 indicates that the baby may need some help, but is generally in good health. A score of 3 or less indicates that the baby may need urgent medical attention.

It is important to remember that the Apgar score is just a snapshot of the baby's health at one moment in time. It does not predict the baby's future health. A baby with a low Apgar score can still be healthy, and a baby with a high Apgar score can still develop health problems later in life.

The Apgar score is just one tool that healthcare providers use to assess the health of newborns. Other factors, such as the baby's gestational age and birth weight, are also taken into consideration

Before your baby can be discharged from the hospital, a few things need to happen

Before your baby can be discharged from the hospital, they will need to have the following tests and procedures:

  • A metabolic screening test, which is a simple blood test that checks for disorders that are not apparent immediately after birth.

  • A critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) screen, which is a routine pulse oximetry reading that can identify if your baby may have a heart defect.

  • An initial hearing screen, which is a test that can detect hearing loss.

  • A hepatitis B vaccine, which is recommended for all newborns.

You will also receive training on how to care for your baby's umbilical cord and circumcision (if applicable), as well as general newborn care, such as bathing, diaper changing, and swaddling.


You will be discharged from the hospital when your baby is stable and you feel confident in their care.

What Can You Take With You?

When you are discharged from the hospital, you will likely receive some "freebies" or samples of postpartum products that may be useful to you as a new parent. These items may vary depending on the hospital, but here are a few common things you can expect:

  • A newborn hat: This helps regulate your baby's body temperature.

  • A receiving blanket: This is a soft blanket that can be used to keep your baby warm and comfortable.

  • Diapers and wipes: These are essential for keeping your baby clean and dry.

  • A nasal aspirator: This can be used to remove mucus from your baby's nose.

  • Baby bottles and pacifiers: These can be helpful for feeding and soothing your baby.

  • Formula samples: These can be helpful if you are formula-feeding your baby.

Before you leave the hospital, you will need to fill out some paperwork for your baby, including their birth certificate and information for their social security card. You will also need to choose a pediatrician for your baby. Your pediatrician will see your baby 1-3 days after they are discharged from the hospital for a complete head-to-toe checkup.

bottom of page