Newborn Screening: The 3 Things To Know About Your Baby’s First Test

Newborn Screening: The 3 Things To Know About Your Baby’s First Test

The day has arrived! You’re at the hospital and after months of waiting, you’re holding your brand new little one. But, there are a few more things that need to happen before your baby can be sent to its home: a newborn screening. So, what’s that? The first thing to know is that It’s a totally normal test that all states require to ensure that treatable medical conditions are caught early. And, while the majority of babies are born perfectly healthy, these tests are a way to catch any issues as soon as possible to make sure your baby gets the care that he or she needs.

Here are the 3 tests that are run during a newborn screening

There are three parts to newborn screening: the blood test, the hearing screen and the pulse oximetry test.

  1. The blood test. Don’t let the idea of a blood test scare you. This quick procedure is often referred to as a heel stick because your baby’s heel will be pricked to collect a small sample of blood. This small sample of blood is used to test for dozens of possible conditions. If you’re nervous about the heel stick, here’s a quick tip: If your baby is held or even fed during this process, the babies are less likely to cry.
  2. The hearing screen. This consists of a 5-10 minute test, often performed while your baby is asleep, to ensure that your baby is hearing properly. Between 2 and 10 percent of all babies across the United States do not pass their first hearing screen, but very few of these babies have permanent hearing loss. Sometimes it can simply be fluid in their ear or because of squirming, movement or crying during the test. 
  3. The pulse oximetry test. This sounds a lot more intimidating than it is! This test is run to measure how much oxygen is in the blood to make sure that your baby’s heart is strong and healthy. It’s quick, painless and is done within 24 hours of birth to ensure any conditions are caught early.

We know that anything related to your newborn’s health can be anxiety-inducing, but just know that your healthcare provider is always there to answer questions and concerns. 

For more parenting education and tips to help you along your journey, come visit us at The Baby Box Co. so we can #ParentSmarter together.