Newborn Screening Information for Providers:
Prenatal Education

Pregnant woman

On this page:
Introduction
Prenatal Provider Responsibilities
Discussion Points


Introduction

Many parents are unaware that newborn screening happens during the busy first days following the birth of their child. Prenatal educators and providers are in a unique position to educate parents about newborn screening before labor and delivery, allowing them time to understand the newborn screening process and their options. Studies have shown that parents prefer to learn about newborn screening during the prenatal period rather than after delivery, with specific interest to learn about screening in the third trimester. The importance of educating parents about newborn screening prenatally is recognized and encouraged by multiple professional associations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the March of Dimes.

Minnesota Statute 144.125 requires our program to make information and Education Materials and Forms available to aid prenatal care providers in educating expectant parents about newborn screening. These materials are available to order free-of-charge.


Prenatal Provider Responsibilities:

  1. Prenatal folder coverTalk with expectant parents using the Newborn Screening for Prenatal Providers folder as a guide.

  2. Give expectant parents a Newborn Screening for Parents-to-be handout.

  3. Address any questions or concerns expectant parents may have and refer them to the Minnesota Department of Health Newborn Screening Program website for further information.

Discussion Points

What expectant parents need to know:

  • When a baby is 24-48 hours old, the birth facility will take a few drops of blood from the baby's heel and send it to the Minnesota Department of Health to screen for over 50 treatable disorders. These disorders are difficult to detect clinically; without newborn screening, affected newborns may not be diagnosed until damage has already been done.

  • When a baby is at least 12 hours old, the birth facility will arrange for the baby's hearing to be screened. A child with hearing loss – even a mild loss – may have difficulty with speech and language development. Hearing loss cannot be easily detected by parents or providers without hearing screening and follow-up testing.

  • When a baby is at least a day old, the birth facility will arrange screening for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD). Babies with CCHD appear healthy at birth but are at risk for serious, life-threatening complications. If CCHD is detected early, treatments are often available that can help affected newborns lead longer, healthier lives.

  • If a baby has a positive newborn screen, the baby's primary provider will arrange for further testing and evaluation.

  • Parents can obtain their baby's newborns screening results from their baby's primary provider or birth provider.

  • If a baby has a hemoglobin trait result from newborn screening, our staff will contact the infant's care provider and fax the information needed to notify the parents and properly follow up on the result. In addition, we will send the infant's parents a mailing to notify them of the result, detail next steps, and provide family resources.

  • Blood spots and test results are kept indefinitely. Parents may learn about their Parental Options for storage and use with this Newborn Screening Infographic (PDF).

  • Parents have the option to decline screening or arrange for blood spot screening through a private laboratory. If parents choose this option, they must complete the Parental Refusal of Newborn Screening form.