Newborn Screening FAQs for Parents
Q: Why does my baby need newborn screening tests?
- Most babies are healthy when they are born.
- We test all babies because a few babies look healthy but have a rare health problem.
- If we find these problems early, we can help prevent serious problems like organ damage, mental retardation or death.
Q: How will my baby be tested?
- A few drops of blood are taken while your baby is still in the hospital nursery.
- The hospital sends the blood sample to the Arkansas Public Health Laboratory for testing.
- If your baby is not born in the hospital, your baby will need to be tested by the seventh day of life in the doctor’s office or local health department.
Q: How will I get the results of the test?
- Your baby’s doctor can give you the test results.
- Ask about results when you take your baby for a check-up.
Q: What if my baby needs to be retested?
- Your baby’s doctor will contact you if there is a problem.
- Sometimes the test may have been done too soon after birth (the test is most accurate when done after 24 hours of age)
- Some babies need repeat testing if they were born prematurely or needed special care after birth such as a blood transfusion.
- A few babies need to be retested because the first test showed a possible health problem.
- Your baby’s doctor will tell you why the baby needs to be retested and what to do next.
- If your baby needs to be retested, it is very important to get it done right away.
- Make sure that your hospital and doctor have your correct address and phone number.
Q: How can I learn more about the conditions tested in Arkansas?
- In Arkansas, babies are tested for over 28 different conditions, including sickle cell and cystic fibrosis (CF). For more information, call the Newborn Screening program at 501.280.4145.
Q: What if I have questions?
- Ask your baby’s doctor if you have questions or concerns.