Newborn Screening

Newborn screening is a medical procedure to identify potentially life-threatening conditions in babies shortly after birth. The process involves taking a blood sample from the baby's heel and testing it for certain conditions that can be treated before symptoms appear. Early detection of these disorders allows for prompt intervention, saving lives. This invaluable tool assists healthcare professionals in ensuring that babies receive the treatment they need as soon as possible, giving them the best chance of a healthy start in life.

What is newborn screening?

Newborn screening is a set of tests for newborn babies to identify any genetic, metabolic, or other disorders that could affect the baby's health. It involves taking a blood sample from the baby's heel, which is then tested for conditions such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anaemia, and phenylketonuria. If an abnormality is detected, further tests may be conducted to confirm it, and appropriate treatment can be provided. Newborn screening is important as it allows medical professionals to detect problems early on in the baby’s life and provide the best possible care.

What are the different types of newborn screening?

There are various types of newborn screening. These include hearing tests, heel prick tests, and pulse oximetry. Hearing tests assess the baby's ability to hear and respond to sound. Heel prick tests detect serious but treatable conditions in newborns, such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and phenylketonuria (PKU). Pulse oximetry measures the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream and can detect heart defects or lung problems. Newborn screening is an important part of ensuring healthy development for babies.

Who qualifies for newborn screening?

Newborn screening is offered to all babies, regardless of gender or family history. All babies are tested for various conditions and metabolic diseases that can affect their long-term health. Newborn screening helps identify conditions early, so babies can receive appropriate treatment as soon as possible. The majority of conditions screened for are very rare, but it's important to detect them as early as possible for the best possible outcome.

When would a doctor suggest undergoing newborn screening?

Patients may be advised to undergo newborn screening shortly after birth. Screening is recommended for all babies and can pick up a range of serious medical conditions. This testing is carried out by taking a blood sample from the baby's heel, and results are usually available within a few days. Newborn screening can diagnose genetic or metabolic disorders that could affect a baby's health and development, so it's an important part of early healthcare.

How should a patient prepare for the newborn screening?

Parents should ensure they are well-prepared for newborn screening. It is important to inform the midwife or health visitor if their baby has special needs. It is also essential to provide accurate information about the baby's medical history and details of any illnesses or conditions in the family. This will help doctors accurately assess the results of the screening tests. Furthermore, parents should ensure that all necessary paperwork is completed before the screening so that it can be conducted quickly and efficiently.


Newborn screening is an important test for all newborn babies. It helps to detect a range of conditions and disorders that may otherwise go unnoticed and can lead to serious health issues. This simple, non-invasive test is performed shortly after birth, using a few drops of blood taken from the baby’s heel. It is quick, safe, and painless, with results available within days. Newborn screening is essential to ensure your baby's long-term health. It could mean the difference between early detection and long-term medical management versus irreversible damage or even worse. Every parent should be aware of this simple procedure and take action to ensure their newborn baby receives this potentially life-saving test.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Bengaluru - Jayanagar. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. What is included in newborn screening?

Newborn screening typically includes a physical exam, a hearing test, a heel prick blood test to check for metabolic disorders, and pulse oximetry for heart defects.

2. How soon after birth is newborn screening completed?

Most newborn screenings occur within the first 24–48 hours of life.

3. What are the benefits of newborn screening?

Newborn screening can help detect serious conditions that may not be obvious at birth, allowing for earlier diagnosis and treatment. This can help reduce disability and even save lives.

4. Are there any risks associated with newborn screening?

While it’s generally considered safe, there is a slight risk of infection or bleeding associated with collecting a heel prick sample. Additionally, false positive results can lead to unnecessary follow-up tests and parental anxiety.

5. Who oversees the accuracy of results from newborn screening tests?

All states have their own guidelines and regulations regarding newborn screenings and have organized systems to ensure result accuracy. To conduct these tests, laboratories must meet strict standards set by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) program.

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