Having a baby is an exciting time. It also can be hectic and overwhelming. In particular, there is a lot going on in the first hours and days of their life. Your newborn will go through several types of screening tests at the hospital. The purpose of newborn screening is to find and treat certain health issues that are not always visible at birth. Early detection can help prevent or reduce the effects of these conditions. Before delivery, you should learn all the facts of newborn screening. In the United States, newborn screening programs vary by state. Each state decides what screenings to cover and what disorders or conditions to include in testing. Costs for newborn screening can vary by state. Newborn screening only receives a portion of state resources, or funds. Availability for certain conditions can vary by state. Some conditions are less likely to occur in some states due to varied populations. Even though some screenings are considered mandatory, you can refuse them.
Talk to your doctor and hospital to know exactly when the screenings occur and how you will get the results. You also should check with them to see if your baby needs additional testing. The first test your newborn will receive is the Agpar test. The doctor or nurse will complete this in the delivery room at the hospital. They usually test within 1 minute of birth, and again at 5 minutes. Based on those scores, they might test a third time at 10 minutes. The Agpar test is named after Virgina Agpar, who created it in the 1950s. It also is an acronym for the test’s measures. Your doctor or nurse will check 5 areas of your newborn baby’s health. They score each area based on a scale of 0 to 2. A score of 2 is the highest and a score of 0 is the lowest. A Your baby’s skin color can range from pink to bluish-gray.
- Low intake of dietary fiber
- 1 hour on the computer
- Always have a jug of water on the dinner table
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- Keep a daily log or diary of your exercise activities
- Public Speaking
- Help your family keep up healthy eating and physical activity behaviors after the program ends
- You need an alarm to wake up
P Your baby’s heart rate can be above 100 beats per minute (strong), below 100 beats per minute (fair), or absent. G This checks your baby’s facial and physical reflexes. A This checks your baby’s muscle tone. R This checks your baby’s breathing. The rate and effort can range from normal to slow to absent. The total possible Apgar score is 10. It is very uncommon to get 10, at least on the first try. It takes most babies several minutes to warm up, regulate their breathing, and adjust to their new settings. A score of 7 or more is good. A score less than 7 means your baby might require additional care. They might need simple oxygen or heat. Most babies are healthy after Apgar testing. Premature babies can have lower Apgar scores. If your baby still scores low after several tests, hospital staff will begin treatment. They will monitor your baby closely for changes. Your doctor will order testing to identify possible health conditions or disorders.
Babies can be born with metabolic disorders. These affect their ability to create and process nutrients and energy. This type of genetic disorders can range from mild or moderate to severe. The effects can cause physical and mental issues, possibly even death. Some metabolic disorders that are commonly screened for are listed below. Currently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening newborns for the first 4 disorders. Metabolic disorders typically are not visible upon birth. PKU was the first metabolic disorder that doctors screened for in the 1960s. The test later became mandatory. This is because PKU can be life threatening and treatment is proven effective. Although PKU can be tested separately, it now is done as part of a larger blood test. This is called a tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). Your doctor or nurse will perform the blood test when your baby is about 24 hours old.
They will prick your baby’s heel to collect a few drops of blood. The blood gets sent to a lab to screen for metabolic disorders. The specific disorders it tests for vary by state. You can decide what disorders to include in your baby’s screening. Some of them may have added costs. Most labs process the blood test within several days and send results to the doctor. Follow up with your doctor if you don’t hear back. Review the results with your doctor in person, if possible. Make sure you understand all the results before you leave. If your baby is diagnosed with a metabolic disorder, talk to your doctor about options. Some disorders have proven treatment programs to help prevent or reduce symptoms. These can include restricted diets, supplements, and lifestyle changes. Another option is to monitor your baby’s condition for symptoms and changes. The USPSTF recommends that all newborns have an initial hearing screening prior to 1 month of age.