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Newborn screening tests

An introduction to physical examinations of newborn babies and those ages 6 to 8 weeks

When your baby is born, the midwife will carry out some checks. You will then be offered a more detailed physical examination of your baby within 72 hours of birth and again at 6 to 8 weeks old. These examinations include a screening examination to find those babies who may have a problem with their eyes, heart, hips and, in boys, testicles. Your baby will experience a lot of physical changes in the first 2 months of life and this is why the examination is repeated at 6 to 8 weeks.

Your baby's hearing screening test 

In the first few weeks of your baby's life, you will be offered another routine health check for your baby - a hearing screening test. The test uses quick and simple methods to check the hearing of all newborn babies.

Blood spot screening for your newborn baby

In the first week after birth, you will be offered a blood spot screening test for your baby.

Why should I have my baby screened?

Newborn blood spot screening identifies babies who may have rare but serious conditions.

Most babies screened will not have any of the conditions but, for the small number that do, the benefits of screening are enormous. Early treatment can improve their health and prevent severe disability or even death.

What are newborn babies screened for?

All babies are offered screening for phenylketonuria, congenital hypothyroidism, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell diseases and medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCADD),

If a baby is thought to have one of the conditions, he or she will need further tests to confirm this.   

Where can I go for more information?

Don't hesitate to talk to a health professional at any time, before or after the examinations or tests, if you are worried about your baby.

Your midwife, health visitor, GP or screener will be able to provide you with more information. You may find the related links on this page useful.

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