Did you know that babies in Vermont are screened for 35 serious health problems soon after birth? When a baby is between 24 and 48 hours old, a health care professional will take a small amount of the baby's blood to send to the newborn screening laboratory. The laboratory will test the blood for 33 rare health problems that can cause serious illness or death. Two other tests will be done at the hospital to check for problems with the baby's hearing or heart. The hearing and heart tests don't require any blood and don't have to be sent to a laboratory. Babies who are born at home can have their newborn screening tests done by a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM).
Why does my baby need newborn screening tests?
- We recommend that all babies get newborn screening tests, even if they are healthy.
- Newborn screening tests check the baby's blood for rare health problems that can cause illness or death.
- When these health problems are found early by testing, babies can get the treatment and care they need.
- Most babies are healthy when they are born but it is still important to test.
How will my baby be tested?
- A health care professional at the hospital will take a small amount of blood from your baby's heel and send it to the laboratory.
- The health care professional will also check for hearing and heart problems. These tests don't require any blood.
- Midwives can do the tests if your baby is born at home.
- Parents or guardians who do not want to have their baby tested can decline by signing a form. A health care professional should explain the risk of not having the tests before the form is signed.
How will I get the results of the tests?
- Your baby's health care professional will tell you the results.
- It can take a few days before the blood test results are ready.
- The results from the hearing and heart tests are available right away.
Why would my baby need to have another test?
- If the test is done before your baby is 24 hours old.
- If there was a problem with the way the test was done.
- If the results of the first test showed a possible health problem.
What do I do if my baby needs another test?
- Your baby's health care professional or the Newborn Screening Program will contact you if your baby needs another test. They will tell you why your baby needs another test what to do next.
- It is important to follow the health care professional's instructions and taker your baby to get the test.
- Make sure that the hospital and your baby's health care professional have your address and phone number in case they need to talk to you about the test results.
What happens to my baby's blood sample?
- In Vermont, blood samples are stored at the laboratory and destroyed after one year. The sample can be destroyed sooner or saved longer by sending a written request to the Vermont Newborn Screening Program.
Resources for Families:
Children with Special Health Needs: CSHN supports children with complex, chronic health conditions and/or developmental disorders, ages birth - 21, and their families, with flexible, experienced, and proactive services.
Critical Congenital: Heart Disease (CCHD) Resources:
Brochure for Families:
Vermont Newborn Screening Program
Vermont Department of Health
108 Cherry St., P.O. Box 70
Burlington, VT 05402
[email protected] (non-urgent inquiries only)
Tel: 800-660-4427 (VT Only) or 802-951-5180