Secondary Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Newborn Screening and the Obstetrician

Rose, Nancy, C., MD; Dolan, Siobhan, M., MD, MPH

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e31826b2f03
Clinical Expert Series
Expert Discussion
Spanish Translation

Newborn screening is the largest genetic screening program in the United States with approximately four million newborns screened yearly. It has been available and in continuous development for more than 50 years. Each state manages, funds, and maintains its own individual program, which encompasses newborn screening as well as the diagnosis and coordination of care for affected infants and children. The ideal disorder for screening is one in which newborn intervention prevents later disabilities or death for infants who may appear normal at birth. There are 31 core conditions that are currently recommended for incorporation into state screening programs. To obtain a sample, several drops of blood are collected from the newborn's heel and applied to filter paper. Although testing for core disorders is fairly standardized, more extensive screening varies by state and the rigorous evaluation of new disorders for inclusion in state screening panels is ongoing. As genomic medicine becomes more accessible, screening newborns for chronic diseases that may affect their long-term health will need to be addressed as well as the use of the residual blood spots for research. Obstetric providers should, at some time during pregnancy, review the basic process of newborn screening with parents to prepare them for this testing in the neonatal period. This information can be reviewed as it best suits incorporation in an individual's practice; verbal discussion and the distribution of written materials with resources for further information are encouraged.

By providing information to parents prenatally, obstetric providers are an essential part of newborn screening, a public health program that reduces disabilities and saves lives.

From Intermountain Healthcare, University of Utah School of Medicine, Intermountain Medical Center, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah; and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York.

Continuing medical education for this article is available at

Corresponding author: Nancy C. Rose, MD, Intermountain Healthcare, University of Utah School of Medicine, Intermountain Medical Center, 5121 S Cottonwood Street, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Suite D-100, Salt lake City, UT 84157; e-mail:;

Financial Disclosure The authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest.

© 2012 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.