A baby’s’ first 24 hours outside of the womb are crucial for its survival. This period is when they are at a higher risk of getting infections and developing diseases. Thus, Newborn Screening has become an essential step for their overall well-being.

As a responsible parent, here are some things you need to know about Newborn Screening:

What is Newborn Screening and When is it Done

Newborn Screening (NBS) is an examination procedure done to newborns soon after delivery. It is a procedure to know if a newborn baby has a congenital metabolic disorder that may lead to mental retardation or death if left untreated. It’s the best way to ascertain any harmful infections or potential disorders that may lead to the baby’s physical and mental impairment, or worse, death. NBS is a tool for identifying and addressing potentially harmful conditions sooner rather than later.

Procedure and Tests under Newborn Screening

NBS is comprised of several tests performed by a physician, nurse, midwife, medical technologist, or a trained member of the hospital. It begins by collecting blood samples through the heel-prick method and then these test samples are forwarded to the Newborn Screening Center (NSC); results are usually available after 7-14 working days. Tests under NBS include:

Blood Test

A blood test determines if the newborn has any infections or diseases that may develop later on.

Hearing Screening

There are two types of Hearing Screenings: “Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Test” and “Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR).

OAE is performed to determine if the baby responds to sound. On the other hand, ABR is done to test if the nerve delivers the sound from ear to the brain, and to know if the brain responds to the sound.

Pulse Oximetry Testing

More commonly referred to as the Ox Test, this determines if the newborn baby has low blood oxygen levels that may result in Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD).

If the infant’s result is positive for any possible disorder, a confirmatory testing should be done and the parents are referred to a Specialist for further management.

Disorders Tested for Newborn Screening

In particular, Newborn Screening helps rule out the following disorders in newborns:

  1. Congenital Hypothyroidism (CH)
  2. Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)
  3. Galactosemia (GAL)
  4. Phenylketonuria (PKU)
  5. Glucose-6-Phosphate-Dehydrogenase Deficiency (G6PD Def.)
  6. Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD)

Expanded Newborn Screening

The Expanded Newborn Screening procedure can detect up to 28 disorders aside from the six already mentioned. This test uses new technology to screen the newborns; it provides early diagnosis and is more accurate in helping improve the newborn’s health.

The 28 additional disorders generally fall within these five groups:

  1. Hemoglobinopathies,
  2. Disorders of amino acid and organic acid metabolism,
  3. Disorders of fatty acid oxidation,
  4. Disorders of carbohydrate metabolism and,
  5. Disorders of biotin metabolism and cystic fibrosis.

Availability and Fee

Newborns can be screened in Hospitals, Lying-In Clinics, Rural Health Units, Health Centers,  and Private Clinics. Babies that were delivered at home should be brought immediately to the nearest clinic or medical institution to be screened.

Newborn Screening costs PHP 550 – PHP 600, while Expanded Newborn Screening costs PHP 1,500 – PHP 1,600. However, if you are a PhilHealth member, they will cover PHP 550 of the Newborn Screening fee but if you choose the Expanded Newborn Screening, you’ll have to pay the remaining balance which is PHP 950 or PHP 1,000.

It is highly advisable that parents have their newborns screened for any possible disorder, but they do have the option to not let their child undergo either of such screenings. They must only sign a refusal form acknowledging that the baby might be put at risk for not undergoing the screening.

ManilaMed is every parent’s partner in ensuring the health, safety, and security of their child. They provide both Newborn Screening and Expanded Newborn Screening for infants, utilizing their expert doctors and advanced equipment coupled with hallmark compassionate care, to ensure that parents and their babies #FeelBetter.

Visit http://manilamed.com.ph/ and call them at (02) 523 8131 for more inquiries about Newborn Screening.