minnesota newborn screening program
Planned Homebirths - Overview
Newborn screening is an important, life-saving part of health maintenance for all infants including those born at home. Homebirth practitioners and families need to work together to learn about newborn screening and to find the best ways to screen their babies.
Newborn screening is the process of testing babies for hidden, rare disorders. Newborn screening is best done between 24 and 48 hours after birth and is often the only way to tell if newborns are affected, since these conditions cannot be seen at birth. The midwife or family can bring or send the newborn screening card to the Minnesota Department of Health where a number of tests are conducted to detect more than 50 disorders. Without rapid identification and treatment, these disorders can lead to illness, physical disability, mental retardation, or death. Medications or changes in diet help prevent most health problems caused by disorders that are identified through newborn screening. Almost every day, the Minnesota Newborn Screening Program identifies a baby who can benefit from early treatment and intervention. The Minnesota Department of Health mails newborn screening results to the submitter identified on the screening card. Parents may choose to refuse newborn screening. Newborn screening is important, the risks of not screening are very serious.
Hearing screening was added to the newborn screening panel because of the benefits of early identification for an infant with hearing loss. Without early screening, the child with congenital hearing loss is not typically identified until two years of age and misses many opportunities for learning language and early intervention. Unfortunately, simple tests such as clapping your hands or dropping pots and pans are not as effective as objective hearing screening in identifying babies with hearing loss, especially loss in the tones where speech is heard. Although homebirth attendants are not likely to have the equipment needed for hearing screening, they should be aware of sites in their communities where screening is available to families. Parents may choose to refuse newborn hearing screening. More information on newborn hearing screening can be found on the hearing screening page.Updated Tuesday, 31-Jul-2012 09:18:44 CDT