September is National Newborn Screening Awareness Month. Here at the Windom Area Health Birth Place, we are required like other hospitals and birth centers in the state of MN (Minnesota State Law 144.125) to complete three different screenings on every baby prior to their discharge. We are dedicated to your newborns health and wellbeing and offer the following required screenings:

Newborn Infant Hearing Screenings

Blood spot screening: requires a heel stick to obtain a blood sample for testing of more than 50 rare but treatable disorders. Early detection is key as it can help steer the providers care of the newborn. This screening is collected 24 hours after your baby has been born. For a full list of disorders the blood spot screens for please visit the Minnesota Department of Health’s website.

Hearing Screening: noninvasive ear muffs are placed over the baby’s ears and an adhesive-back sensor is placed to the baby’s forehead, nape of their neck and shoulder. The screening machine passes a series of soft clicking sounds to the baby’s ears as the sensors pick up the response from the baby’s brain. The baby will receive a score of Pass or Refer. If the baby refers two times on the same or both ears we then refer the baby to an audiologist for further follow up. This screening is performed at a minimum of 6 hours after your baby has been born.

Pulse oximetry screening (CCHD): noninvasive screening that screens for serious and/or even life-threatening heart defects. A pulse oximetry detector is placed on the baby’s hand/wrist and simultaneously on one of their feet to detect any variation in pulse oximetry. The baby will receive a Pass or Fail grade. If a baby fail’s this screening the provider is notified and further follow up is arranged. This screening is most accurate if completed 24 hours after birth.

Did you know that one in a thousand babies born in Minnesota who appear healthy at birth have a hidden disease. However, if any of the diseases are found and treated early, serious health problems may be prevented. Windom Area Health does offer outpatient screenings as well for those babies whom were born at home and/or went home prior to 24 hours of age.  While newborn screening is crucial to a newborn’s health, parents may sign a waiver to opt out of any of the above screenings.

By Ashley Jensen, OB Coordinator

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