Your baby may look and act healthy, but could still have a treatable condition. Your baby may have a condition even if there’s no family history of one.
Usually the screening is done at the hospital before your baby goes home. If it doesn’t happen at the hospital, it will be done at a home visit, a clinic visit, or a lab in your community. It’s best if this screening is done when your baby is between 24 and 72 hours old.
Your baby’s blood is collected quickly and safely. The healthcare provider doing the screening will:
You can help your baby by comforting them, keeping them warm, and holding them against your skin.
Feeding your baby during and after the heel poke often helps, too.
After the newborn blood spot screen is done, the blood spot card goes to the newborn screening lab in Edmonton for testing. The results become part of your baby’s health record. Your baby’s doctor or midwife and birth hospital will get the results.
Your doctor or midwife will have the results by the time your baby is 2 weeks old. You can talk to them about your baby’s results. A healthcare provider will contact you if your baby needs to have the screen done again or if your baby needs more tests.
A normal newborn blood spot screen means it’s very unlikely that your baby has one of the conditions that was tested for.
Sometimes the newborn blood spot screen has to be done again to get clear results. This doesn’t always mean that your baby has one of the conditions.
The screen may have to be done again if any of the following happen:
When your baby needs to have the newborn blood spot screen done again, your public health nurse or midwife will arrange for another screen as soon as possible. The screen can happen at a home visit, a clinic visit, a lab in your community, or the hospital if you haven’t brought your baby home yet.
Newborn blood spot screening only looks for certain conditions. It doesn’t check for any other health problems. So it’s important that you take your baby to see a doctor, midwife, or public health nurse regularly. If you’re worried about the way your baby is growing or if you think your baby isn’t well, contact your healthcare provider. You can also call Health Link at 811.
Always take good care of yourself. This will help you care for your baby.
Current as of: February 28, 2022
Author: Alberta's Newborn Metabolic 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.