Health Professionals Prenatal Providers
The prenatal period is a time of great emotion, learning, and growth for soon-to-be parents. Prenatal care providers are the best and most reliable source of information for expectant parents. They provide anticipatory guidance about what happens during pregnancy and the first few weeks of a baby's life. So much happens during the baby's delivery and the following 24 hours that it is crucial for expectant parents to be well-informed about what to expect in the hospital. Families want to receive this information from someone they trust.
In addition to the resources outlined in the About Newborn Screening and What To Expect sections of this website, the following tools can help facilitate conversations about newborn screening between prenatal care providers and expectant parents.
As a part of their "Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Babies" video series, the March of Dimes developed a three-minute video vignette depicting a discussion of newborn screening in a prenatal office visit setting. Use this video to practice your own conversations!
Childbirth Educator Toolkits
The New England Genetics Collaborative and Children's Hospital Boston created a Guide for Prenatal Educators that highlights the importance of talking with expecting families about newborn screening and provides resources to help parents learn about what to expect.
The New York-Mid-Atlantic Consortium for Genetic and Newborn Screening Services (NYMAC) created an educational toolkit to be used by nurse midwives, doulas, and other childbirth educators to introduce newborn screening into childbirth education classes and literature.
Why talk about newborn screening before the birth?
After a baby is born, parents receive so much information it can be hard to keep track of everything. This is especially true for newborn screening information. A recent study found that 90% of prospective mothers (women who plan to have a baby in the next three years) reported wanting information about newborn screening either before or during their pregnancy.
Furthermore, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published a committee opinion in March 2011 that recommends that obstetric care providers make resources regarding newborn screening available to patients through informational brochures, electronic sources, or through discussion during prenatal visits.
By having information earlier, parents have a chance to understand what will happen to their baby and to ask questions. Prenatal care providers should be knowledgeable about newborn screening to answer questions parents may have and to steer them to appropriate and reliable resources.
CDC's Public Health Grand Rounds on Newborn Screening
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The following information was developed by a grant through the Health Resources and Services Administration. It provides high-level talking points for a simple overview conversation about newborn screening with expectant parents.
- All newborn babies are required by the state to get tested for certain rare disorders before they leave the hospital.
- Babies with these disorders may look healthy at birth.
- Serious problems can be prevented if we find out about the disorders right away.
- To do the test, a nurse will take a few drops of blood from your baby's heel.
- Your baby's health professional and hospital will get a copy of the test results. Ask about the results when you see your baby's health care provider.
- Some babies will need to be retested. If your baby needs to be retested, you will be notified. It is very important to get retested quickly.
- Talk to your baby's health care provider if you have questions.
Do you know of a resource on newborn screening for prenatal care providers that you have found useful? Tell us about it!