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 in 2007 because of the benefits of early identification for an infant with hearing loss. Without early screening, children with congenital hearing loss are not typically identified until two years of age, after they’ve missed many critical opportunities for language learning, speech development, and early intervention. Every year, about 1 in 300 babies in Minnesota are born with a hearing loss that can be identified through newborn hearing screening.
Since babies with hearing loss may startle to loud sounds and even appear to listen, objective screening with hearing equipment is the only way to detect hearing loss early. Unfortunately, simple home tests such as clapping your hands or dropping pots and pans are not effective in identifying hearing loss in babies in the tones where speech is heard. Thanks to a recent collaboration between the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Council of Certified Professional Midwives, most Minnesota midwives now have access to the hearing equipment necessary to screen infants from home. Midwives who do not have access to screening equipment should set up an appointment for a hearing screening with another provider before one month of age. MDH recommends that midwives who refer families to other providers for hearing screenings fill out the following form and fax or mail it to the Newborn Screening Program.
Although hearing screening is recommended for all newborns, parents may choose to refuse screening. More information on newborn hearing screening can be found on the hearing screening page.Updated Monday, 15-Jul-2013 12:43:43 CDT