What is Newborn Screening?
Newborn screening is a procedure which involves the routine collection of blood samples from all pregnant women at least two weeks before their due date. This test is used to screen for certain birth defects such as Down syndrome, Trisomy 18, Edwards Syndrome, and others.
The purpose of newborn screening is to prevent babies from having birth defects. In the case of treating a disease in the early stages, doctors can give parents time to prepare and talk about their options with their family.
The newborn screening takes only a few minutes and is completely painless. The baby does not need to be undressed and can stay with the parent. The baby’s heel is pricked to get a small drop of blood, which is enough for the newborn screening test. The small spot of blood disappears quickly and the baby and parents can return to their activities immediately.
In some states, hospitals do not offer newborn screening. This is mainly because of the cost. The medical equipment used in newborn screening is expensive, and most hospitals need to do many tests in order for the cost to be covered. Usually, hospitals that offer newborn screening are large medical centers located in cities.
Newborn screening facts:
All babies are born with no signs or symptoms of the diseases that they have.
Some birth defects are inherited from a parent. Others can happen randomly for no known reason.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Update of newborn screening and therapy for congenital hypothyroidism (SR Rose, RS Brown… – Pediatrics, 2006 – Am Acad Pediatrics)
- Newborn screening: toward a uniform screening panel and system—executive summary (MS Watson, MY Mann, MA Lloyd-Puryear… – Pediatrics, 2006 – Am Acad Pediatrics)
- Newborn screening (B Wilcken, V Wiley – Pathology, 2008 – Taylor & Francis)
- Newborn screening for sickle cell disease: effect on mortality (E Vichinsky, D Hurst, A Earles, K Kleman, B Lubin – Pediatrics, 1989 – Am Acad Pediatrics)