September brings awareness to Newborn Screening. Using a simple blood test, doctors test and screen the blood to see if there are any potential fatal disorders that aren’t visible at birth. These screenings help prevent lifelong health problems or early deaths in infants, although most babies get a clean bill of health. The screenings vary by state and with advancements in technology, these test are subject to change.
There are several disorders that are tested for, but for now, here are a few; Sickle Cell Disease, Congenital Hypothyroidism, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency and more. Newborns are also subject to a hearing screening, which plays a very critical role in your child’s first few years of life. The screening is done within the first few days of birth. The heel of the baby’s foot is used for the blood draw, and causes little to no pain to the child. Doctors suggest the tests are done no later than 2 weeks after the mother and child have been discharged.
The blood is then taken to a lab to run tests on it. The lab will then notify the parents if anything shows up. If a test is ran and come back abnormal, it doesn’t mean the child has a disorder. A screening test is NOT the same as a diagnostic test. If testing comes back that the child has a disorder the doctor will order the parents a specialist to help the child. There are no national standards for screening tests, and they vary by state. Most states now test and screen for over 30 disorders. This month we encourage everyone to spread awareness on Newborn Screening.