Tests your newborn will have

According to state law, every baby born in Minnesota will receive newborn screening unless a parent refuses in writing. Newborn screening is a set of three tests that check babies for serious, rare disorders.

Most of these disorders can't be seen at birth but can be treated or helped if found early. That means that even if your baby seems healthy, she needs to be tested. The testes are:

  • blood spot screening checks for more than 50 disorders. Finding these disorders early can help prevent serious health problems, disability and even death. The test is simple. It only uses a few drops of blood taken from your baby's heel. The test is done before you leave the hospital. You can be with your baby during this test. Consider breastfeeding during the test to comfort your baby.
  • hearing screening checks for hearing loss in the range where speech is heard. Identifying hearing loss early helps babies stay on track with speech, language and communication skills.
  • pulse oximetry screening checks for a set of serious, life-threatening heart defects known as critical congenital heart disease (CCHD). If found early, babies with CCHD can often be treated with surgery or other interventions.

To learn more about newborn screening in Minnesota, call 1-800-664-7772 or visit health.state.mn.us/newbornscreening. If your baby will not be born in Minnesota, ask your health care provider or check with that state's health department.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, seventh edition, ob-ah-90026
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 12/02/2015