During labor, several risk factors may indicate the possibility of developing neonatal sepsis. Abnormalities of fetal heart rate, maternal fever, premature separation of the placenta from the uterine wall, or foul smelling/cloudy amniotic fluid all indicate a high-risk labor and delivery. These would require prompt consultation with the pediatrician or neonatologist regarding the potential for delivery and/or postpartum complications.
poor ACTIVITY or listlessness (a very sleepy baby)
a high OR low TEMPERATURE jaundiced SKIN
RESPIRATORY symptoms (difficulty of breathing, rapid breathing, apnea or when the baby stops breathing)
CBC (Complete blood count) with White Blood Cell Count and Differential, platelet count, toxic granules
When an infant is fighting an infection, their white blood cell count may increase, as the infant’s body produces more infection-fighting cells, or it might also decrease if the infant has used up all of their white blood cells fighting the infection and can no longer keep up with their production of white cells. Another change that is seen when an infant is fighting an infection is an increase in the percentage of immature white cells. This is due to the increased production rate of white blood cells, such that more immature white blood cells are being released into the blood stream. This higher percentage of immature white cells is sometimes referred to as a “left-shift,” and is one of the things that can tell the doctors that the infant has an infection. The presence of toxic granules may also indicate infection.
CRP (C-Reactive Protein)
This is a laboratory test that measures a protein that is a non-specific marker for inflammation and therefore infection. If the infant has two normal CRP levels measured 24 hours apart, then there is a 99% chance that the infant does not have an infection. Therefore, this test is most useful in ruling out an infection.
Blood chemistries (blood sugar, kidney- and liver-function tests, CPKMB)
Cultures of body fluids (blood, urine, CSF [cerebrospinal fluid])
Two-dimensional echocardiography (2D echo), if with elevated CPKMB levels