About Newborn Screening in Vermont

infant sleepingAll babies born in Vermont have the opportunity to receive a newborn screening test to check for rare but serious diseases which may not be apparent at birth.

The Vermont Department of Health has put together this website to provide information about newborn screening, including frequently asked questions, information and resources for families and health care providers, and about the variety of programs which support families.

For more information: Contact our Newborn Screening Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Newborn Screening?

Newborn screening identifies conditions that can affect a child's long-term health or survival. Early detection, diagnosis, and intervention can prevent death or disability and enable children to reach their full potential.

Each year, millions of babies in the U.S. are routinely screened and are also tested for hearing loss prior to discharge from a hospital or birthing center. Screening is also available for babies born at home.

Why does my baby need newborn screening tests?

How will my baby be tested?

How will I get the test results?

Why do some babies need to be retested?

How are disorders treated?

Sometimes babies are found to have one of the rare disorders for which Vermont screens. If that happens, you and your baby's health care provider will be referred to a team of specialists.

These specialists will recommend a treatment plan, which may include a special diet, medication, or other types of treatment. They will work closely with your baby's health care provider.

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More About Newborn Screening

infant sleepingVermont screens for 29 different conditions which could result in serious health problems, developmental delays, or in rare instances, death, if not identified and treated early.

See also: Newborn Screening Program Regulations

How it works

At least twenty-four hours after birth, a nurse in the birth hospital will obtain drops of blood by pricking the baby’s heel.  Babies born at home can have this done by their Certified Professional Midwife, in their primary care provider’s office, or at their local hospital out-patient laboratory. 

These blood drops are placed on a special card (“filter paper”) which is sent to a laboratory for testing. If any of the tests indicate the possibility of a disorder, the baby’s care provider is notified immediately. Sometimes another filter paper is all that is needed to make sure there are no problems. Occasionally, a baby will need further tests to make sure everything is fine. 

If a rare condition is found

If the baby does have one of the rare conditions, the parents, care provider, and specialists will work together to provide the baby with the care he or she needs.  Vermont  Children with Special Health Needs offers a variety of programs which support families in these efforts.

Making an informed choice about screening

Each year, a few parents choose to not have newborn screening done. These parents will be given information by their nurse, doctor, or midwife.  It is extremely important that they understand the possible problems which could arise if a baby does have a condition which is not identified and treated early.  The parents will be asked to sign a form saying that they understand this information but refuse to have their baby screened.

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Screened Conditions

 Vermont routinely screens newborns for 29 conditions.  They are:

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