Blood Tests for Newborns
Soon after birth, your baby will have a blood test. In California, the law requires that your baby have this Newborn Screening Test for the following disorders:
- Sickle Cell Disease and other Hemoglobin Diseases
What Are These Disorders?
(Reprinted from the State Department of Health Services, Genetic Disease Branch)
- PKU (Phenylketonuria)
Babies born with PKU have problems when they eat foods high in protein such as milk (including breast milk and formula), meat, eggs, and cheese. Without treatment these babies become developmentally delayed.
Babies with this disorder cannot use some of the sugars in milk, formula, and breast milk and other foods. This disorder harms the baby's eyes, liver and brain. A special diet can prevent these problems.
Babies born with this problem lack a thyroid hormone. Without this hormone they grow very slowly and become developmentally delayed. This can be prevented by giving the baby special medicine every day.
- Sickle Cell Disease and Other Hemoglobin Diseases
These diseases affect the baby's red blood cells. These babies can get very sick and even die from common infections. Most infections can be prevented with antibiotics. Affected babies also need lifelong care for problems caused by these diseases.
Babies can look very healthy at birth and still have one of these disorders. Your baby will be tested before leaving the hospital or before your baby is six days old. Ask your health care provider to make sure the test is done. Babies not born in the hospital must have these tests also.
The Tests are Safe
This is a simple and safe set of blood tests. Blood will be taken from your baby's heel and sent to a State-approved lab for testing.
How Can I Get the Test Results?
You can get the results from your baby's health care provider about two weeks after the tests are performed. If your baby needs more tests, you will receive a letter or phone call.