What to Expect

Before Birth

In this Section:

Pregnancy can be both an exciting and an overwhelming time. Pregnant women and their partners are eager to meet the newest member of their family, but they are also adjusting to their new roles as parents. Many new parents want to know about the health of their baby; they want to give their children every opportunity to grow up healthy and happy. One way to give a baby a healthy start is to ensure that newborn screening is performed before leaving the hospital. Below is a list of newborn screening facts that parents should know before the birth of a baby: 1

Newborn Screening Facts:

  1. All newborn babies are required by the state to get tested for some rare health conditions before they leave the hospital or after 24 hours of life. See the About Newborn Screening page.
  2. Babies with these screened conditions may look healthy at birth. See the Conditions page.
  3. Serious problems can be prevented if health professionals find out about the condition right away. See the Conditions page.
  4. To do the test, a nurse will take a few drops of blood from the baby's heel and will place a small device comfortably in the baby’s ear to conduct the hearing test. See the Screening Procedures page.
  5. The baby's health care provider and the hospital will get a copy of the test results. See the Responding to Results page.
  6. Some babies will need to have further testing. A health professional will notify the parents when a baby needs additional testing due to an out of range screening result. It is very important to get retested quickly. See the Responding to Results page.
  7. The baby's health care provider or the state newborn screening program can answer any questions expecting or new parents may have about newborn screening. See the Conditions Screened by State page.

The other "What to Expect" sections discuss other parts of the newborn screening process, beginning with the birth of a baby. For more information, visit the following pages:



  1. Health Resources and Services Administration: “7 Things Parents Want to Know About Newborn Screening”