What tests will the baby have

When your baby is 48 hours old, her heel will be pricked and a few drops of blood taken to test for phenylketonuria (PKU), hypothyroidism, and other disorders. In USA all 50 states require newborn screening tests. Currently, the number and type of genetic and metabolic disorders routinely tested for vary from state to state, though there is a movement afoot to adopt a more uniform national policy.

If you live in a state that doesn’t perform a test you’d like, you can pay for additional testing, but you may need to make arrangements ahead of time. (Talk to your caregiver or the provider you’ve chosen for your baby.) Frequently updated information is available from The National Newborn Screening and Genetics Resource Center.

If you and your baby leave the hospital within 24 hours of birth, you might be asked to return within the week to finish off the necessary testing. (Some signs of the conditions being tested for don’t show up until your baby’s second day of life or later.)

If you deliver your baby at home, ask your caregiver or child’s doctor who will take care of this testing. Your baby’s doctor might do it in the office or you may need to take your newborn to a local hospital, clinic, or health department. It’s best to do this on day two or three, and no later than day seven.

Most hospitals routinely perform newborn hearing tests before your baby is discharged. In many states such testing is required by law. If screening for hearing loss is not done routinely wherever you give birth, request it.

The Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the March of Dimes, and a host of other organizations all recommend that newborns be screened for hearing loss before they’re a month old, preferably before hospital discharge. If you give birth at home, make arrangements so your newborn will get her hearing screened shortly after birth, and definitely before she’s a month old.

If your HIV status is unknown, your baby’s cord blood may be tested for the virus. (In some states, this is required.)



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