Newborn screening in the United States began in the 1960s. In September, the newborn screening community rallies together around the principle that all babies deserve a healthy start.
Newborn Screening Awareness
September is Newborn Screening Awareness Month, and Baby’s First Test, along with organizations, states, providers, and families, celebrate by helping to raise awareness about newborn screening. Social media campaigns, new educational materials, events, and personal stories and experiences about newborn screening further the excellent cause.
The blood test is referred to as a “heel stick” because the baby’s heel will be pricked to collect a small sample of blood. Parents are always welcome to be a part of this process by holding their baby while the test is performed. Babies are less likely to cry when their mother or a healthcare professional is there to comfort them. Some drops of blood will be put onto a filter paper card to create dried blood spots and the screening card is then sent to the state laboratory for analysis.
Hearing tests are often done when the baby is asleep and are safe and comfortable. The Otoacoustic Emissions Test is used to determine whether certain parts of the baby’s ear responds to sound. The Auditory Brain Stem Response Test evaluates the auditory brainstem and the brain’s response to sound. These test can detect early deafness, which saves frustration and means you can act early.
Pulse Oximetry Testing
Infants with heart problems may have low blood oxygen levels. This test can help identify babies that have Critical Congenital Heart Disease. The test is non-invasive and only takes a couple of minutes.
Whether your baby was born in a hospital or elsewhere, a newborn screening is still required. The costs depend per state but insurance usually covers most or all of it.
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