Newborn Screening

Newborn screening is the process of testing infants shortly after birth for a range of conditions that can affect their health. Early detection and intervention can ensure the best outcome for affected children and their families. Screening tests identify problems that may not be apparent at birth or quickly lead to serious health problems if left untreated. This website offers insight into newborn screening, its benefits, and how it is done.

What is newborn screening?

Newborn screening is a medical procedure that tests for health conditions in babies shortly after birth. It typically involves taking a few drops of blood from the baby's heel and sending it to a laboratory for testing. The tests detect abnormalities or disorders in the newborn baby, so early treatment can be given if needed. Some conditions screened for include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anaemia, hearing loss, and rare metabolic diseases. Newborn screening is important because it helps identify potential problems early on, allowing babies to get the best possible start in life.

What are the different types of newborn screening?

There are various types of newborn screening tests. These include hearing tests, which measure the baby's response to sound; metabolic tests, which check for certain disorders that affect the body's metabolism; and pulse oximetry tests, which measure oxygen levels in the baby's blood. Newborns may also receive a heel prick test to screen for conditions such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell disease. Finally, some babies are tested for genetic disorders such as Down syndrome.

Who qualifies for newborn screening?

Newborn screening is offered to all babies. It involves a heel-prick test for certain genetic, metabolic, and endocrine conditions. The NHS advises testing for at least nine rare but serious conditions, including sickle cell anaemia, cystic fibrosis, congenital hypothyroidism, severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), and phenylketonuria (PKU). All parents should have the opportunity to have their babies screened.

When would a doctor suggest undergoing newborn screening?

Patients may be advised to have their newborn baby tested for certain conditions shortly after birth. This type of screening is often recommended by doctors, midwives, and other medical practitioners. The test looks for rare but serious genetic and metabolic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, that can affect the baby's health. Newborn screening is usually done within a few days or weeks of being born and can help detect any conditions early, so treatment can start quickly if needed.

How should a patient prepare for newborn screening?

When expecting a baby, parents should be aware that newborns are screened for certain conditions in most countries. The healthcare provider will collect a sample of the baby's blood using a heel stick and send it to a laboratory for testing. Before the test, parents should tell the healthcare provider about any family history of genetic diseases or problems with previous pregnancies. It is also important to ask questions about what the screening involves and what happens if abnormal results are found.

What are the risks or complications associated with newborn screening?

Newborn screening carries a small risk of complications, such as bleeding or bruising at the site of the heel prick where the sample is taken. In some cases, the baby may develop an infection or fever after the sample has been taken. There is also a risk of false positives, meaning that results indicate a problem when there is none. The risk of false negatives, when results indicate no problem when there is one, also exists. Finally, there may be challenges in obtaining informed parental consent for screening tests and ensuring accurate follow-up on positive results.


Newborn screening is a simple, safe, and effective way to detect and treat various conditions in newborns. It can help prevent disability or even death in some cases. Testing for conditions early in life allows for the best possible outcomes, both short-term and long-term. Newborn screening is an important part of healthcare that should not be overlooked. It provides a wonderful opportunity to identify and address potential medical issues before they become serious or irreversible. All parents should take advantage of this important test and give their babies the best chance at a healthy start in life.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, DELHI-NCR - Moti Nagar. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. What is the purpose of newborn screening?

Newborn screening is a public health program designed to identify newborns with certain medical conditions that can be treated early, resulting in improved health and quality of life.

2. What tests are conducted during Newborn Screening?

Newborn screening typically involves tests for metabolic disorders, endocrine disorders, hemoglobinopathies, and other genetic conditions.

3. How common are the conditions tested for by Newborn Screening?

The prevalence of most of the conditions detected by newborn screening varies from region to region, but some of the more common ones include phenylketonuria (PKU), hypothyroidism, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anaemia.

4. How accurate are the results of Newborn Screening?

Results from newborn screenings have high accuracy rates due to advances in testing methods such as tandem mass spectrometry and DNA testing.

5. Are there any risks associated with Newborn Screening?

The risks associated with newborn screening are minimal; they include false-positive results or incorrect test interpretation leading to unnecessary treatments or follow-up tests.

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