minnesota newborn screening program
Frequently Asked Questions
On this page:
Why is newborn screening so important and why should every baby have it?
Why is newborn hearing screening important?
What are the disorders tested for by the Newborn Screening Program?
Does my baby have to have newborn screening?
When does newborn screening happen?
Does newborn screening hurt?
If my family members are healthy, does my baby still need newborn screening?
Does newborn screening cause any side effects?
What if my baby looks healthy?
Can I see my baby's results?
Who else gets to see my baby's results?
What happens if the result is positive?
Newborn screening can save babies’ lives and help them begin life healthy. Finding a disorder by newborn screening and treating the baby right away is the key to preventing health problems and even death. Affected babies may look perfectly normal at birth. Unless newborn screening is done, the disorder may stay hidden and cause permanent damage to the baby.
Identifying hearing loss early is important. Speech and language start to develop right after birth, even though babies don’t usually talk until about 1 year of age. A child with hearing loss may have difficulty with speech and language development. If a baby has a hearing loss, it is usually not noticeable to parents or doctors. Screening and follow-up testing are the only ways to find hearing loss early, so baby's get the help they need.
Your baby will be tested for more than 50 disorders that:
- affect how the body breaks down proteins (such as PKU)
- cause hormone problems (such as congenital hypothyroidism)
- cause blood problems (such as sickle cell disease)
- affect how the body makes energy (such as MCAD)
- affect breathing and getting nutrients from food (such as cystic fibrosis)
- affect language and communication (such as hearing loss)
No. According to state law parents may refuse screening. Newborn screening can save your baby’s life and protect your baby’s health. Newborn screening is important, and the risks of not screening are serious.
When your baby is between 24 and 48 hours, a few drops of blood will be collected from your baby’s heel.
The nurse uses a small needle to poke your baby's heel. The discomfort a baby feels does not last long. The benefits of newborn screening, such as saving your baby’s life and preventing heelth problems, far outweigh the discomfort that comes along with the heel-stick.
Yes. Most babies affected with one of these disorders do not have a family history of the disorder.
No. Newborn screening is a lot like getting your blood drawn or like a needle poke. Everything is kept sterile to prevent any infections.
Most babies with these conditions look and act normal and seem perfectly healthy. The newborn screening test helps your doctor catch a problem with your baby before it makes him or her sick.
Yes. Screening results are sent to the hospital where your baby was born. The hospital then sends the results to your baby's doctor. We encourage all parents to learn about their baby’s newborn screening results! Ask your baby’s doctor for the newborn screening results.
Only people who are authorized will see your baby’s results. This can include, newborn screening staff at MDH, the hospital where your baby was born, and your doctor.
If your baby has a positive newborn screen, your baby’s doctor will call you and explain what the next steps are. Usually, more testing must be done to know if the baby has the disorder. Babies who have a disorder identified by newborn screening often need special treatment immediately. Sometimes this means taking medication or staying on a special diet.Updated Wednesday, 01-Aug-2012 09:29:40 CDT