Secure Your Little bundle of joy with Newborn Screening Tests
Newborn Screening Test
Your newborn is your most precious gift of God. This delicate soul constantly struggles for nine months to survive in the mother’s womb. And sometimes even though it’s strong enough to cling to life, yet it may not be hale enough to fight the outside world.
It may be suffering from some hidden illness or disease which needs urgent detection just after birth. A newborn screening test is a process of detecting the hidden, rare diseases or illness in your child’s body which are not easily detectable through its external fitness.
Such an illness may be curable or it may be fatal but needs an urgent treatment to make sure that the baby is safe today and also in future.
Importance Of Newborn Screening Test
It has been noted that there are generally very rare chances that the baby is reported with some disorder. But in case the baby is, it may turn out to be a major one and in the case left untreated, it could result in disability or may spoil the baby’s life forever.
Seeking the importance of newborn screening some states make newborn screening test compulsory for parents. Although it may not be mandatory in some other states yet there is an obligation on the parents to understand the importance of newborn screening test, screen the newborn for any disorders and take immediate treatment.
Newborn Screening Test List
Unknowingly the newborn may be suffering from a rare problem which needs urgent screening in order to cure the baby of further fatal illness for which specific tests are done. The newborn screening test list includes:
- Phenylketonuria– This disorder can last lifelong as it builds up an amino acid called phenylalanine in the body.
- Congenital Hypothyroidism-Here the baby has a severe deficiency of iodine in the body ie, thyroid function deficiency.
- Galactosemia – It is a rare disorder in which the glucose production in the body is affected.
- Sickle cell disease– It is a fatal disease which results in the breakdown of red blood cells.
- Biotinidase deficiency – The deficiency or can even result in neurological disorder in the baby. It must be treated at the right time.
- Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)- It is a genetic disorder resulting in affects production of essential hormones through the adrenal gland.
- Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD)- It is a genetic disorder which prevents the body from breaking the amino acids.
- Tyrosinemia – This disorder affects the kidney and liver, preventing the breakdown of amino acids.
- Cystic Fibrosis (CF)- It is a highly fatal genetic disorder that affects lungs, pancreas, kidney, and intestine.
- MCAD Deficiency- It is a genetic disorder that prevents the body from breaking down fats into energy.
- Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID)- It is a life-threatening immune disorder which makes the immune system of the baby weak affecting the T and B lymphocytes.
Additional tests may also be conducted in special cases where there is a possibility of illness due to some hereditary tendency, in case of premature delivery or there has been a previously affected child.
When Did Newborn Screening Start?
Newborn Tests After Birth
Try getting your baby screened before you head home after delivery. In normal cases, the hospitals themselves conduct newborn tests after birth. It must do soon after birth generally within two days. But in case of delay, it shouldn’t exceed a span of 7 days or a week. Apart from Vaccination, these tests are the part of essential newborn care after delivery during the first month.
Newborn Screening Test Procedure
New parents are generally concerned about the newborn screening test procedure. They are usually bothered if the newborn screening test will be painful or trouble their babies in any form.
But actually, the newborn screening test procedure is far plain sailing than you think.
To your relief, from at least 24 hrs after delivery, doctors just take a sample of your newborn’s blood from the heel, usually pea-sized samples which are then sent to the state laboratories for the test.
A hearing test is also done for the infant. The tests may be conducted once or even periodically for a small duration in some cases.
Newborn Blood Test
Ideally, the newborn blood test for the newborn screening test is done two to three days after birth. For the blood sample, a tiny puncture is done on the baby’s heels with a device and collected on a sterile glass or plastic slate.
Calm the baby down or cuddle with it in case it starts crying or fidgeting. Take proper care that the device for taking the blood sample is properly sterilized. Any antiseptic used must not be harsh or very strong on the newborn.
Newborn Screening Test Results
Once the blood sample is taken for examination at the labs, the newborn screening test results are sent back to the hospital sooner. Different states or labs have varying time periods for examination.
As soon as you receive your newborn’s screening test reports, consult your doctor. There may or may not be a disorder. In case a disorder is detected, carefully get the examination done by your doctor.
Do not panic in such situations. At times there may be misinterpretations to the reports and in worst of the cases, the reports may be wrong. If you suspect such a case, consult yet another trustworthy lab/doctor or appeal for re-examination.
Newborn Genetic Screening Pros and Cons
Genetic screening refers to the practice of screening the baby for any genetic disorder which is passed on to the baby from either of the parents or grandparents or if there are chances for such the baby to acquire such a disorder in future.
Now the baby may or may not have such an illness but in general, such tests may freak out the parents the most.
Following are the newborn genetic screening pros and cons:
- It is a fairly easy process with no major pain to the newborn.
- Generally insurance cover is available for most of the tests.
- It gives a sense of satisfaction to the parents that their baby is safe.
- It is not a time-consuming process and can be done even after discharge from the hospital.
- The results may not be accurate some of the times. This may panic the parents or sometimes make them ignorant in case of a wrong report.
- Usually, results take longer duration and may demand a second blood test.
- Some tests may be too expensive at times.
- In case sterilized or sanitized devices are not used for taking the blood sample, it may further pave a way for yet another illness.
- The tests may not be a 100% proof for all kinds of disorders. There are still chances that some disorders may remain undetected.
Matters relating to the newborn’s health cannot be taken lightly as some of them can be life-threatening. At any point, you cannot compromise with the newborn screening tests. Make sure both you and your doctor keep the records of the tests properly avoiding any delay in treatment.