Newborn screening

After your baby is born, screening tests will be offered for your baby:

  • Newborn physical examination
  • Newborn hearing screening
  • Newborn bloodspot screening

Your baby will be given a thorough physical examination and you will be asked questions about how your baby is feeding and about their general wellbeing.

During the examination, your baby's eyes, heart and hips will be checked and baby boys’ testicles will be examined. You will be given the results straight away and if your baby needs to be referred for more tests, this will be discussed with you.

You will be offered a hearing test for your baby before discharge from the post-natal ward.  A small earpiece is placed in your baby's ear and clicking sounds are played. You will be given hearing test results as soon as the test is done.  If the results do not show a clear response, a referral will be made to the audiology clinic.

When your baby is five days old, you will be offered bloodspot screening for your baby.  Four spots of blood from a prick to their heel will be collected on a special card to find out if your baby has one of nine rare but serious health conditions:  sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, congenital hypothyroidism and five inherited metabolic diseases.   

Most babies won't have any of these conditions but, for the few who do, early diagnosis and treatment can improve their health.

Here is further NHS information on this topic.

Group B Streptococcus

Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a common bacteria carried in the body. Carrying Group B Streptococcus is usually harmless and most people will not realise they have it. GBS can sometimes infect a baby during labour and cause serious illness in babies, however, early treatment most babies will make a full recovery.

Testing for Group B Strep is not routinely offered to all pregnant women in the UK. However, you will be asked during your booking appointment whether you have had GBS in a previous pregnancy and whether your baby was affected by GBS infection. If you have had GBS in a previous pregnancy and your baby was affected by GBS disease you will be offered intravenous antibiotics in labour. If you had GBS in a previous pregnancy but your baby was unaffected, you will be offered testing in your pregnancy for GBS.

Some women will be found to have GBS following a vaginal swab or urine test taken during their pregnancy. If this is the case intravenous antibiotics will be offered during labour.

Please read the GBS information leaflet that is available on your Badger Notes App for further information about GBS infection including options for where to have your baby and the signs of GBS infection in babies. Your midwife or doctor will be able to answer any other questions you may have.