How would you feel about a test that could save your baby? Let me introduce you to Kristine. Kristine lost her baby, Cora, to one of the conditions that’s normally included in a newborn screening — a very important part of Baby’s First Test. Cora died suddenly and unexpectedly when she was just five days old. Cora passed away from the number one birth defect: Congenital Heart Disease. Early detection could have saved her life.
Kristine now runs an independent organization, Cora’s Story, and has already changed lives with her fight for pulse oximetry (a test that monitors the amount of oxygen in the blood’s hemoglobin) after 24 hours of life in every state. She truly believes that mandatory newborn screenings like pulse oximentry in the hospital can truly save lives, and I am right there with her. It’s a simple and cheap test that saves babies every day.
Read on to get all the details, and flip through a slideshow of facts.
Screening 1 of 8Babies with these screened conditions may look healthy at birth.
Details on the Conditions page. Image: My Daughter, Kennadi
Any Baby Could Be Affected 2 of 8Although genetic diseases are often the result of inherited gene mutations, most affected babies identified through newborn screening are from families with no history of the disorder.
Details on Baby's First Test
One Test Saves Babies 3 of 8During the blood test, which is sometimes called a heel stick, the baby's heel will be pricked to collect a small sample of blood. The health professional will put drops of blood onto the filter paper card to create several "dried blood spots." The newborn screening card is then sent to the state laboratory for analysis.
Image via Flickr
Pulse Ox 4 of 8Pulse oximetry, is a non-invasive test that measures how much oxygen is in the blood. Infants with heart problems may have low blood oxygen levels, and therefore, the pulse ox test can help identify babies that may have Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD)
Image via Flickr
State Requirements 5 of 8While all states require newborn screening for every infant, the number of conditions on a state's screening panel varies from state to state.Newborn screening varies by state.
See the requirements for your state here
Cora Saves Lives 6 of 8Cora lived for 5 days, but has changed lives forever.
Read all about Cora here
Tested Right Away 7 of 8Newborn screening is performed soon after the birth of your baby, and in most cases, while you are still in the hospital. All it takes is a few drops of blood and a simple hearing test. Image: My Daughter, Kennadi
Hearing Test 8 of 8Two different tests can be used to screen for hearing loss in babies. Both tests are quick (5-10 minutes), safe and comfortable with no activity required from your child. In fact, these tests are often performed while a baby is asleep. Image: My Daughter, Kennadi
From the Baby’s First Test website:
Newborn screening is performed soon after the birth of your baby, and in most cases, while you are still in the hospital. 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. The types of newborn screenings include: a heel prick (blood sample, newborn hearing screening, and heart screen (pulse ox). Not every state screens for the same conditions. Make sure you check out what your state offers on the Baby’s First Test Website.
So what exactly is Baby’s First Test? It’s the “nation’s newborn screening education center for families and providers.” The amazing site provides endless information and resources about screening at your local, state and national levels and serves as an advocate for early medical testing after birth.
Chances are, your newborn won’t test positive, but if she does, you’ll be glad you know where to turn for more information. If your newborn tests a false positive, you’ll be comforted knowing you’ve read over the information about screening. You’ll know to ask your doctor about screening and be prepared for when and how the tests are performed.
This is the great thing about Baby’s First Test–you have a great support system of resources.
But here is something you can do right now — get involved! Blog about Baby’s First Test, visit the site, or tell all of your pregnant friends about the many resources at Baby’s First Test and how it can save lives. A simple prick of the heel can save your baby’s life.
I am proud to be a Blogger Ambassador for Baby’s First Test and happy to spread the word on saving babies’ lives!
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