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September is Newborn Screening Awareness Month

September 5, 2023

What is newborn screening?

Newborn screening is a group of tests that are done in the hospital prior to discharge home to screen for rare, serious, hidden disorders that, if not treated quickly, can lead to severe problems or even death.

What are the group of tests done on my newborn?

  1. Hearing Screen

During this screening, soft “ear muffs” are placed over the ears and sensors on the forehead and back.  This screening can help detect if the newborn was born with hearing loss from either ear.

  1. Cardiac Screen

During this screening, a pulse oximeter is placed near the foot and hand to check how much oxygen is in the blood. This screening can help detect heart defects.

  1. Blood Screening

Just a few drops of blood from the newborn’s heel are placed on a special test paper and sent to the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene to be tested.  48 different conditions are tested for with this screening.

When is it performed?

Due to changes in the newborn as they are transitioning to life outside of the womb, these tests are best done after 24 hours of life.

These tests are all completed in our Birth Center by our specially trained staff. If you would like more information regarding the Newborn Screening Program visit: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/newbornscreening/index.htm