Early disease screening is a quick blood test for all newborn babies. It can detect a number of rare disorders - allowing for early treatment.
About one in 1,000 babies born in B.C. has one of these rare diseases, which include metabolic, endocrine and blood disorders. Early treatment can prevent mental delays, growth problems, health problems and sudden infant death.
The screening is easy. A few drops of blood are taken from your baby's heel and put onto a special card. Your baby may cry, but the screening isn't harmful. You can help by holding your baby close and breastfeeding while the sample is taken. It normally happens between 24 and 48 hours after birth, before your baby leaves the hospital.
If you don't get an early disease screening for your newborn in the hospital, talk to your healthcare provider or public health nurse. If you had a home birth, your midwife will do the screen at home.
When babies have procedures such as blood tests or injections, they usually cry less if they are breastfeeding and held skin-to-skin.
For more information about newborn screening, talk to your healthcare provider or visit the BC Children’s Hospital website.