September is Newborn Screening Awareness month

Published 1:21 pm Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is taking the month of September to emphasize the importance of newborn screening.

Newborn screening is a state public health program that identifies newborns who may have a genetic, metabolic or other congenital disorder that may not be apparent at birth. If left untreated, newborn screening conditions may cause serious illness, developmental disability, intellectual impairment or death.

Rachael Montgomery, BSN and RN wrote that each year in Alabama approximately 200 babies are identified with a condition detected through newborn screening.

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“The screening allows treatment to be initiated within the first few weeks of life, treating many of the complications associated with newborn screening disorders such as sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis,” according to the ADPH.

In Alabama, the newborn screen includes the bloodspot screening, hearing screening and pulse oximetry screening. Critical congenital heart disease is detected through the pulse oximetry screening. The Alabama newborn screening panel includes 31 of 35 disorders recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In October 2018, Alabama added screening for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), otherwise known as “bubble boy disease,” according to the ADPH 

Parents need to know that their baby should have the newborn screening performed between 24-48 hours of age, and parents should also let the hospital know who their baby’s doctor will be to ensure timely follow-up if needed. Parents should also ask about the newborn screening results at their baby’s first doctor’s visit.

Don’t put off your child’s health. Be sure to get screenings done when they are supposed to be.