All babies born in Vermont have the opportunity to receive a newborn screening test to check for rare but serious diseases which may not be apparent at birth.
Each year, millions of babies in the U.S. are routinely screened. They are also tested for hearing loss prior to discharge from a hospital or birthing center. Early detection, diagnosis, and intervention can prevent death or disability, and can enable children to live full, healthy lives.
Here you will find information about newborn screening, including frequently asked questions, resources for parents and health care providers, and information about the variety of programs which support families.
If you have questions about your baby's health, please contact your health care provider.
What is Newborn Screening?
Newborn screening identifies conditions that can affect a child's long-term health or survival. Early detection, diagnosis, and intervention can prevent death or disability and enable children to reach their full potential.
Each year, millions of babies in the U.S. are routinely screened and are also tested for hearing loss prior to discharge from a hospital or birthing center. Screening is also available for babies born at home.
Why does my baby need newborn screening tests?
- Most babies are healthy when they are born.
- We test all babies because a few babies look healthy but have a rare health problem, which can be identified through screening.
- If we find problems early, we can help prevent developmental delays, serious health problems, or even death.
How will my baby be tested?
- Before you leave the hospital, a nurse will take a few drops of blood from your baby’s heel.
- The hospital will send the blood samples to a newborn screening lab.
- Babies born at home can have this done by their Certified Professional Midwife, in their health care provider's office, or at their local hospitals out-patient laboratory.
How will I get the test results?
- Parents are notified by their health professional of test results if there is a problem.
- Ask about results when you see your baby’s health professional.
Why do some babies need to be retested?
- Your baby will need to be retested if the screening is done before the baby is 24 hours old.
- Some babies need to be retested because there is a problem with the way the blood sample was taken.
- A few babies need to be retested because the first test showed a possible health problem.
- Your baby’s health professional or the Department of Health Newborn Screening Program will contact you if your baby needs to be retested. They will tell you why the baby needs to be retested and what to do next.
- If your baby needs to be retested, get it done right away.
- Make sure that your hospital and health professional have your correct address and phone number.
How are disorders treated?
Sometimes babies are found to have one of the rare disorders for which Vermont screens. If that happens, you and your baby's health care provider will be referred to a team of specialists.
These specialists will recommend a treatment plan, which may include a special diet, medication, or other types of treatment. They will work closely with your baby's health care provider.
Video: Newborn Screening Saves Babies.....One Foot at a Time
Produced by the Save Babies Through Screening Foundation, this video features parents sharing their experiences about the newborn screening and follow up process.
Vermont Department of Health
- Children with Special Health Needs
This office provides a number of services to children - birth to age 21 - who have complex health conditions, and to their families.
- Universal Newborn Hearing Screening
Vermont’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program provides support, training, and case management to families, hospitals, and community providers.
- Vermont Newborn Screening Program Rule
- These Tests Could Save Your Baby's Life
- Newborn Screening Brochures in Multiple Languages
New England Regional Genetics Group
Genetics & Newborn Screening
- Genetics Resources: A Regional Directory
An overview of basic genetics, with contact information for specialty care providers in New England.
- Understanding Genetics
An educational resource for families and health professionals in the New England states, addressing basic genetic concepts, tests, and services.
- Baby's First Test
Newborn screening education information and resources at the local, state, and national levels for families and providers.
- GEMSS - Genetics Education Materials for School Success
Tools and strategic resources for schools, including ideas for emergencies, field trips, diets, communication,and instruction.