What Are Newborn Screening Tests?

If you are expecting a new baby, then you need to be aware of the tests that he will get while he was in the hospital. These newborn screenings are important for keeping your child healthy, and you should feel comfortable allowing your doctor to perform them. These screenings could help your child stay healthy and comfortable for years to come.

What are Newborn Screenings?

Newborn screenings are tests that are administered to babies shortly after they are born. These tests help doctors identify any serious illnesses that need to be treated as soon as possible, and they can indicate issues that may require further testing. Newborn screenings can also help doctors find heart defects, blood disorders or hearing problems that need to be addressed. There are currently 31 screening tests that can be administered to newborns, and most states perform all of them.

How are Newborn Screenings Administered?

There are usually a few sets of tests that newborns are given, and the first are done soon after birth. The screening for heart defects is done by placing a pulse oximeter on the baby’s hand. Hearing tests involve using a device to measures the sound and echo that travels through the ear canal. Nurses may also draw blood from your baby’s heel to run tests for other disorders, and this is done using a quick prick with a needle to draw blood. Other screenings are painless and do not disturb the infant.

When are Newborn Screenings Done?

If you give birth in a hospital, then the hospital staff will administer the newborn screenings during your stay. If you have a home birth, you will need to go to a clinic or hospital in order to have your child screened. Some disorders are not apparent until a few days after the baby is born, so you may need to return to the hospital or clinic in a few weeks for your baby to undergo more testing.

Does My Baby Have to Be Screened?

Most states offer newborn screening tests, and a few will allow parents to refuse the tests. Other states will not administer the tests until they have consent from the parents. In order to determine whether you want your baby to be screened for health issues, then you should ask your doctor or pediatrician about the screening tests and procedures. He will be able to give you the information you need to decide if you want your baby to be screened.

In most states, newborn screening tests are standard so that doctors can quickly identify potential health problems. If you are unsatisfied with the tests that are administered, you can find a laboratory that will perform additional screening tests for you.

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