Babies born in Alberta are tested for certain treatable conditions after birth. This screening test is different from those done during pregnancy.
The newborn blood spot screen is done by Alberta Health Services (AHS) through Alberta’s Newborn Metabolic Screening (NMS) Program. The program works to prevent health problems and improve the health of Alberta babies through early diagnosis and treatment of certain treatable conditions.
This is a blood test that is done on newborn babies to test for treatable conditions that you, your doctor, or midwife can’t see by just looking at your baby.
Finding and treating these conditions early can help prevent health problems. This can improve your baby’s overall health and may even save your baby’s life.
This screening test looks for treatable conditions that include:
These conditions are often genetic. Usually babies are born with them when they inherit a gene, which has a change in it, from both parents. This change stops the gene from working properly. Sometimes the conditions can happen for no reason. The treatable conditions aren’t caused by anything that happened during pregnancy.
There may be no signs of these conditions at birth. It’s important to remember that many conditions can’t be seen by looking at your baby.
The screening has 3 steps:
The best time for the newborn blood spot screen is when your baby is between 24 and 72 hours old. Ideally, the blood spot screen happens at the hospital before your baby goes home. It’s important to find these conditions as early as possible.
The screen results show if:
Talk to your public health nurse, doctor, or midwife if you have any questions about newborn blood spot screening or Alberta’s Newborn Metabolic Screening Program. You can also go to
Newborn Metabolic Screening Program | Alberta Health Services.
Yes, health information is collected, used, and shared (disclosed) by following the laws of Alberta’s Health Information Act. Your baby’s health information is protected in a secure, private, and confidential place.
Current as of: March 25, 2020
Author: Alberta's Newborn Metabolic Screening Program, Alberta Health Services
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