minnesota newborn screening program
What is Newborn Screening?
Newborn screening is the process of testing babies for hidden, rare disorders. Newborn screening takes place before your baby leaves the hospital. With a simple blood test, doctors can tell whether newborns have certain conditions. Often, newborn screening is the only way to tell if newborns are affected, since these conditions cannot be seen at birth.
In Minnesota, a few drops of blood are taken from the baby’s heel before the baby leaves the hospital. This small amount of blood is tested for over 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)
Additionally, all babies born in Minnesota need to have their hearing checked before hospital discharge. Newborn hearing screening tests for hearing loss in the range where speech is heard. Hearing loss in this range can affect language and communication.
What Parents Need to Know about Newborn Screening
- You can protect your baby’s health with newborn screening – the disorders screened for in Minnesota are treatable.
- Newborn hearing screening and follow-up testing are the best ways to find hearing loss early.
- Newborn screening helps protect every baby’s health. Minnesota law requires all newborns to be screened at birth. Your baby’s blood will be tested unless you refuse in writing.
- Your baby might need to have a second newborn screening or might need more testing.
- A baby who has a positive newborn screen needs additional testing
- A baby who has a borderline newborn screen will need another newborn screen done.