Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why does my baby need NBS?
A: Bloodspot screening tests for conditions that may be hidden at birth. A baby can appear healthy and still have a condition. Connecticut NBS can detect over 60 different disorders and conditions using a few drops of blood. If one of these health problems is not treated, a baby may:
- Become very sick
- Grow poorly
- Have a physical disability
- Develop brain damage
With early treatment many of these problems can be prevented.
Q: When is the test done?
A: Bloodspot screening is done 1-2 days after birth while your baby is still in the hospital. It is important that the test is completed in the recommended time frame, so that if a baby screens positive (has an out-of-range result), follow-up can take place quickly a repeat specimen can be collected or and treatment can be started if needed.
Q: What if my baby is born at home?
A: Your midwife or baby’s primary care provider will collect the bloodspot specimen 1-2 days after birth and will send it to the State Public Health Lab. Please ask your midwife about bloodspot, hearing and pulse oximetry screening.
Q: How is the test done?
A: The hospital staff, midwife or primary care provider will take a few drops of blood from your baby’s heel and apply it to a filter paper card. The card is sent to the State Public Health Lab for testing.
Q: Will the heel stick used to collect the bloodspots hurt my baby?
A: A very small needle is used to poke your baby’s heel. Some babies cry when their heel is pricked, but the discomfort does not last long. The benefits of newborn screening, such as saving your baby’s life and preventing health problems, outweigh the temporary discomfort that comes with the heel-stick. If you breast feed your baby, breast feeding during the heel-stick can reduce your baby’s level of discomfort.
Q: Can I say “no” to this test?
A: All babies born in CT automatically receive bloodspot screening. You can say no to the test if it conflicts with your religious beliefs. Ask your healthcare provider about the benefits of newborn screening, and the risk associated with not doing the screening before you say no, so that you have all the facts before making your decision. If you say no to the test, you will be asked to sign a form stating that you refuse the test.
Q: Is there a cost for bloodspot screening?
A: The cost for bloodspot screening is included with the hospital birthing and nursery charges. There is no charge for bloodspot screening for a baby born at home. You should not receive a bill for bloodspot testing done through the CT State Public Health Lab.
Q: How do I get the screening results?
A: If your baby screens positive (has an out-of-range result) for a disorder, someone from the Newborn Screening Program will call your baby’s doctor to report the result as soon as it is available.
The final report of all bloodspot screening results will be sent to your baby’s doctor usually 7-14 days after birth. Ask your baby’s doctor for bloodspot testing results at the first visit.
Q: What does a screen positive result mean?
A: A screen positive or abnormal result may also be called an out-of-range result. It does not mean that your baby is sick or has a disorder. Further evaluation is needed.
There are many things that can cause a screen positive or out-of-range result A screen positive or out-of-range result can happen:
- If you took certain medicines while pregnant
- If your baby was born early
- If your baby’s blood was collected too soon
- If your baby had certain treatments while in the hospital
- If there were issues with how the bloodspot was collected or stored
If your baby has a screen positive or out-of-range result your doctor may:
- Examine your baby
- Ask about conditions that run in your family
- Repeat the bloodspot screening
- Order additional tests
- Have your baby see a doctor who specializes in newborn screening related disorders
Q: What happens to any leftover blood after screening?
A: When bloodspot screening is complete, a very small amount of blood is sometimes left over. The leftover blood will be stored at the CT Public Health Laboratory to allow for any necessary follow-up testing, to help make sure screening is accurate, and to develop new newborn screening tests for Connecticut. Leftover bloodspots are not used for research unrelated to newborn screening. If you have any questions about this, please contact the CT NBS Program at 860.920.6628.
Q: What disorders does CT screen for?
A: Click here to view disorders Connecticut can detect through newborn screening.
Connecticut Newborn Diagnosis and Treatment Network