Newborn Screening Program

The Newborn Screening Program at Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis is designed to detect newborns with health problems that can be treated, help to start treatment early in life and prevent developmental delays or other problems. You can help by making sure your baby is screened before he or she leaves the hospital, and then taking your baby to your health care provider or clinic for a second screening at 7 to 14 days of age.

How the Newborn Screening Works

To begin the screening process, we start by taking tiny samples of blood from your baby’s heel about two days after birth, and then we send the samples to the laboratory for testing. Tests are repeated one to two weeks later with your health care provider. If the screening tests show a possible health problem, your baby will need a follow-up test. For some conditions, your health care team may start treating the baby right away.

If your child has a health problem, early action is important. If your health care provider asks you to bring your baby in for a follow-up test, do so as soon as possible.

  • Be sure to give your correct address and phone number to the hospital or health care provider.
  • If you don’t have a telephone, leave the phone number of a friend, relative or neighbor with the health care provider or hospital.
  • If you move soon after your baby is born, let your health care provider know right away, so they can reach you if your child needs a follow-up test. 

Hearing Screening

Newborn hearing screening is important for your baby because it’s one of the most common birth disabilities. Language learning starts at birth, so if your baby can’t hear, learning to speak will be difficult. If you find hearing loss early, your baby can get help. Also, if you start before your baby is 6 months old, he or she may learn language like babies who do not have hearing loss. 

After your baby’s hearing is screened, you’ll be given either a “Pass” or a “Refer” result. “Pass” means that your baby can hear well enough to learn language. It’s important to keep track of how your baby’s language develops. Sometimes, hearing problems develop later in a baby’s development.

“Refer” means that your baby needs more testing. Refer does not mean that your baby definitely has hearing loss. It does mean that it’s important to test your baby again. The hospital or your baby’s health care provider will help you get this testing.