The 5 Screening Tests Your Newborn Will Need


Having your baby checked for the rare, but possible serious conditions happens just after they are born. Here are the tests they’ll have in the hospital.

Newborn screening panel
This test is also known to many as the “heel prick test” where one of the baby’s heel is pricked and happens right after they are delivered. The reason why blood is collected is to check for inherited diseases like metabolic disorders, endocrine issues, and sickle-cell anemia.

For each of these conditions tested, your baby’s blood sample could either come back positive or negative. It’s important for your baby to receive this test and is recommended by each individual state.

Jaundice screening
Most children are born with a mild form of jaundice (yellow of the skin) due to the liver having a hard time processing bilirubin. It’s important to catch the jaundice early because it could lead to deafness, cerebral palsy, or other forms of brain damage.

If your child has a moderately elevated bilirubin count typically resolves on it’s own, but if your child’s level is too high they may have to stay in the hospital. A special light help alters the bilirubin so it’s easier to clear out.

Your baby is required by the Academy of Pediatrics to have this test. Doctors will only recommend it if your baby needs it.

Apgar score
This test is performed twice in the five minutes after your child is born. Nurses will monitor your newborn to determine if your baby can breathe or if they’re experiencing heart trouble. They will rate your baby and come up with a number between 1 and 10.

If the baby scores above the number 7, this means your new baby is in good health. If they score below a 7, this can be a result of your baby having some difficulties and needing some oxygen.

Hearing test
Your baby more than likely will have some hearing loss when they’re born. Your newborn will receive two forms of the hearing test, and it requires your baby to just relax.

Because of the sensitivity of the test, many newborns fail and still have normal hearing. If your baby doesn’t pass the test, refer to a specialist  for further evaluation.

There’s nothing to worry about when it comes to this test because it’s performed in all hospitals in the United States.

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