A newborn screening test is carried out to detect the possibility of the occurrence of certain conditions that may hinder the normal development of the baby. The screening is carried out generally after 48 hours to 13 days after birth. In some cases, older babies need to be screened for up to 2 years of age. Nevertheless, it is best if the screen tests are done at the earliest.
The conditions tested during this screening can cause major health disorders in infancy or childhood. If they are detected early, they can be treated to prevent intellectual and physical disabilities and life-threatening illnesses. Thus, the morbidity and mortality associated with these conditions can be reduced.
The test results don’t rule out or confirm any certain condition. Therefore, it is not a diagnostic test. It only helps identify babies at risk with the condition and allows follow-up diagnosis and screenings to determine whether the condition is truly present.
Here are three important things that your doctor would want you to know about newborn screening.
- What Type of Disorders Can Be Detected in a Newborn Screening Test?
Look for the “best maternity hospital near me” where newborn screening is done for over 44 metabolic conditions in babies. A small blood sample needs to be collected to carry out the test. These are certain serious disorders that one has at birth itself. So, they are called Inborn Errors of Metabolism (IEM) which include brain damage, physical disability and, sometimes, death if the disorders are not identified and treated as soon as possible.
Some of them occur as a result of chemical imbalances that are often passed on genetically. They can impact children’s health quite early, sometimes, within a few days or weeks of birth. Therefore, it is crucial to detect these disorders in babies at the earliest.
- What Are the Chances That Your Baby Has These Conditions?
The infant mortality rate in developed countries is roughly 5-10 infants in every 1,000 newborns. The rate in India is nearly 10 times higher than that. This means babies born in India have a greater chance of death within 1-2 years of birth. According to healthcare experts, newborn screening tests can help prevent almost 10-20% of these early deaths.
- How Are These Conditions Treated?
Most of the disorders screened in newborns can be treated if early diagnosis is done. Early detection can allow timely treatment which can help mitigate the signs and effects of these disorders. Many of these conditions are often treated in simple ways, such as managing the baby’s diet.
Newborn tests are preventive healthcare approaches important to screen babies at birth. Usually, it is recommended that you should be registered for these tests while you are pregnant. At any time, you can receive your screening kit. Even if you miss getting registered early, you can do it right after delivery. For that, make sure to look up the “best maternity hospital near me” that carries out newborn screening for up to 44 metabolic disorders.