Newborn Screening Awareness Month – September

*Disclosure* This post was compensated, but it is a topic of great importance to me*

Newborn screening awareness month

Did you know that September is Newborn Screening Awareness Month?  Did you know that newborn screening detects treatable conditions in 1 in 300 babies every year? Do you know what newborn screening is?

Newborn screening is IMPORTANT and I wanted to share some more information about it with you.

What is Newborn screening?

Newborn screening is a series of tests that doctors use to detect a variety of disorders in newborns. It is a state public health service available to all babies born in the US.All babies are screened for a series of medical conditions, and while these screenings do not diagnose diseases they alert medical staff that a condition may be present and follow-up diagnostic testing can be done to confirm.

Pregnant woman

What tests will my newborn receive?

The 3 main screening tests are:

  • Blood test (heel stick): This test is used to check for more than 60 disorders. The specific disorders tested for vary by state.
  • Hearing screening: These tests are done to make sure the brain responds to sound and there are no hearing issues. They are simple and fast, and most often done while your newborn sleeps.
  • Pulse oximetry (pulse ox): This important test measures how much oxygen is in the blood. A low oxygen level can suggest a possible CHD (congenital heart defect). This test is completely non-invasive and uses a simple sensor, typically wrapped around your newborn’s foot.

newborn screening history

How do I know what conditions my child is screened for?

As mentioned, these screenings vary from state to state. You can ask your OB, or hospital about the conditions they screen for. You can also look HERE to see what your state tests for, from the Save Babies Through Screening Foundation.

Do I need to ask for these tests?

No, every baby is screened unless the parents “opt-out” for religious reasons. Your state has a standard screening protocol. However, not every test is done in every state (pulse ox, for example) and if there is a test that you feel strongly about having done, please ask!


Why is it important?

Simply put, newborn screenings SAVE LIVES. Every year 5,000 babies are born with one of the conditions that the screening tests for. Since these conditions are caught early, treatment can be started before some of the harmful effects happen. Most babies with these conditions who are identified at birth and treated early are able to grow up healthy with normal development. You may think “I don’t have a family history of any medical issues, so my child doesn’t need these tests!” but, please know, each year, over 5,000 babies are born with one of the conditions included in state newborn screening panels. Most of these infants appear perfectly healthy at birth and come from families with no history of the disorder.


I wish that I had been better educated on newborn screening when I was pregnant with Avery. It wasn’t until she was 4 months old that I learned about it, thanks to The BlogHer Baby Shower. Please take some time to learn more about newborn screening and spread the word to another mom. Remember, you are your child’s best advocate, and the more you know, the better you can help ensure they receive proper care.

Please visit Baby’s First Test and the Save Babies Through Screening Foundation both sites offer comprehensive information, statistics, videos and support.

You can also find them on social media:
Baby’s First Test: twitter and facebook
Save Babies: twitter and facebook


  1. Ruth says:

    Thanks for sharing!! My son passed away from heart defects at three months old. I fought in his honor to pass a pulse ox bill here in WV called Corbin’s Bill. I’m a huge newborn screening advocate!!

    Only thing I would add…the newborn pulse ox screening is done with a wrap, similar to a band-aid, not a clip like it’s done on adults.

    • Sarah says:

      Thank you for commenting, Ruth! I’m sorry to hear of your son’s passing, but what a wonderful thing you have done for other parents in his honor! I made the change regarding the clip! Thank you again!

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