Babies born in Alberta are tested for certain treatable conditions after birth. This screening test is different from those done during pregnancy.
Newborn blood spot screening is provided through the Alberta Newborn Screening Program (ANSP) within Alberta Health Services. The program helps your baby have the best start in life. Early screening for certain conditions makes sure your baby gets treatment when it can help the most.
The ANSP was previously called the Newborn Metabolic Screening (NMS) program.
This is a blood test done 1 or 2 days after babies are born to find out if your baby is at risk of having a certain treatable condition 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, including:
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 and are not detected during prenatal tests.
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 your baby's health or newborn blood spot screening. You can also learn more about the Alberta Health Services Alberta Newborn Screening Program.
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 3, 2023
Author: Alberta Newborn Screening Program, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.