A newborn screening typically consists of three tests that evaluate a baby’s health within the first day of life. The tests check for potentially serious health conditions. If the results reveal a problem, early treatment can minimize or prevent later health problems for the baby.
The tests include a hearing test, a blood test, and a critical congenital heart defects (CCHD) test. Your doctor will perform these at the hospital. In the case of home births, babies should receive the screening at a hospital or other medical facility within the first few days after birth.
At Dignity Health, our doctors have the experience and technology you can depend on during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and beyond. If you would like to learn more about newborn screening in Arizona, call (877) 728-5414.
Newborn Screening: What are the Tests?
Newborn screening includes:
- Hearing test. A postnatal care staff member will put a small speaker into the baby’s ear to determine how he or she responds to sound. It lasts only a few minutes and is not painful.
- Blood test. A member of the postnatal care team, usually a nurse, will prick the baby’s heel to get a few drops of blood for analysis. The screening results identify babies who should have further evaluation, but do not definitively confirm the existence of specific health conditions. The test is brief, but the baby will feel discomfort from the needle stick.
- Critical congenital heart defects test. The health care provider will attach a sensor to the baby’s hand or foot to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood. This test helps identify potential heart problems, which guides further diagnostic tests and treatment plans. The test is short and painless.
Next Steps after Newborn Screening
If the screening results come back in the normal range, the baby usually will not need any more testing for these conditions. If the test results are not in the normal range, the baby may need to be tested again to rule out a false positive.
Your doctor may recommend additional tests to make a diagnosis and determine a treatment plan, or may refer you and your baby to a specialist for further evaluation and treatment, if necessary.
Dignity Health provides specialized postnatal care for babies, including newborn screening, in Arizona.