minnesota newborn screening program
About Newborn Screening
Below is a step-by-step guide to newborn screening created by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). A guide to newborn hearing screening is listed separately below.
Step-by step guide to Newborn Screening
- When your baby is between 24 and 48 hours old, a nurse or other health provider will provide you with information about newborn screening, answer any questions you may have, and take a few drops of blood from your baby's heel.
- The hospital will put the drops of blood onto a special newborn screening card.
Image of Dried Blood Spots on Newborn Screening Card
- Along with the drops of blood, the hospital will write information about your baby on the card. This information includes your baby's name, weight, mother's name, and the name of the doctor that will be taking care of your baby.
- The newborn screening card is then sent to the Minnesota Department of Health to test your baby's blood for more than 50 disorders.
- If your baby's test is positive or borderline, staff members from MDH will call your baby's doctor about the results. Your baby's doctor will then call you to set up a follow-up appointment. Your baby's blood spots and results will be kept for 24 months and then will be destroyed unless you request that they be kept longer.
- If your baby's test is negative, the results will be sent to the hospital and will be put in your baby's medical chart. Your baby's blood spot will be kept for 71 days and your baby's results will be kept for 24 months, and then both will be destroyed unless your request they be kept longer.
Step-by-step guide to Newborn Hearing Screening
- Before your baby leaves the hospital, simple tests will be done to check your baby's hearing.
- While your baby is asleep, a nurse or other health staff member will use special computerized equipment to check your baby's hearing.
- If your baby does not pass the hearing test, another hearing test needs to be done. The nurse or hospital will help you set-up an appointment to have your baby's hearing rechecked.
- If your baby's next hearing test also has a refer result, your baby will need to see an audiologist. The audiologist specializes in testing for hearing loss and has more sensitive equipment to tell whether your baby is hearing or if the baby has a confirmed hearing loss.
- If your baby gets a pass result, it is unlikely that your baby has hearing loss, but you should continue to monitor your baby's hearing and language. Some forms of hearing loss do not show up until after your baby is older.
- The results of all your baby's hearing tests are sent to MDH.
Since 1965, the Minnesota Department of Health has screened Minnesota newborns soon after birth to see if they are at risk for hidden, rare disorders. Without 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.
Minnesota is a national leader in newborn screening, and the Minnesota Department of Health together with hospitals, laboratories, and medical professionals across the state screen for hearing loss and more than 50 disorders that may affect an infant's metabolism, endocrine system, blood, breathing, hearing, or digestion.