Newborn blood screening is a special blood test for newborns. Just a few drops of blood from your baby's heel are put onto a special test paper and sent to the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene.
Before your baby leaves the hospital a few drops of blood from your baby's heel are put onto a special test paper and sent to the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene to be tested. The test is simple and safe. Some babies cry when their heel is pricked, but the discomfort lasts only a short time. There is a small risk of infection when the heel is pricked, but this risk is very low.
The newborn screen is most accurate if your baby's blood is taken after the first 24 hours of his or her life. If your baby's newborn screening heelstick was done before 24 hours of age, your doctor may ask you to repeat the test when your baby is one to two weeks old. However, if your baby was born prematurely or needed special care after birth, the timing of repeat testing may be different.
Learn more about the 44 disorders for which the Wisconsin Newborn Screening Program currently screens.
Your baby's doctor will receive a report with the test results. Make sure to ask your baby's doctor about the results of your baby's newborn screens. You have the right to ask your doctor or nurse to explain the screening process and to provide the results to you.
An abnormal newborn screening result does not mean that your baby has a disorder. This is a screening test that finds babies who may be at risk for a disorder. If your baby's newborn screen is abnormal, your doctor will talk with you about the next steps to take. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist for more testing and genetic counseling. Then, if your baby is diagnosed with a disorder, treatment will be started to prevent possible problems.
Each disorder is different. Some are treated with a special diet and others with medicine. If treated early, many babies grow up to lead a normal, healthy life. In a few cases, the disorders may not be completely treatable. Early diagnosis and treatment will allow your baby the best chance of normal growth and development.
Make sure your baby is tested before you leave the hospital.
Leave your correct address and phone number with the birth hospital and your baby's doctor. If you do not have a phone, leave the number of a friend or relative who can find you.
If your baby's doctor asks you to bring your baby back to repeat the newborn screening test or for further testing, do so as soon as possible. It is important that testing be done right away.
Back to Newborn Screening Home.