Newborn Screening Test Positive? It May Be A False-Positive!

To best prepare ourselves for the arrival of our daughter, my wife and I took a few baby and parenting classes, we read books on the subject and researched the internet. The amount of information (and misinformation) available to new parents today is incredible, so we had to be selective and hence didn’t pay too much attention to stuff that could go wrong, including diseases and complications. With no family history of major disorders or genetic defects, we figured chances are, that everything is going to be just fine.

We were, however, aware of common procedures and issues with newborns such as:

Common Procedures

  • Newborn hearing test (to make sure the baby’s hearing is OK, which is important for speech development)
  • Newborn screening test (to catch genetic or metabolic diseases early)
  • Vitamin K shot (to help with blood clotting until the baby’s Vitamin K production kicks in)
  • Antibiotic eye ointment (to prevent infection caused by bacteria in the birth canal)
  • Initial assessment of babies vital functions at 1 and 5 minutes after birth to determine the APGAR score (named after Dr. Virginia Apgar)

Common Issues

  • Elevated bilirubin levels (Jaundice or yellow coloring of the skin caused by immature liver)
  • Other minor skin defects (pimples, spots…)
  • Hair-growth on body parts other than head (it’s called lanugo, is completely normal and disappears after a few weeks)
  • Enlarged genitalia (due to mom’s hormones passed on to baby)

Every time I read something like “some babies may have XYZ condition (i.e., jaundice)” I naturally assumed that only applies to other babies, but not ours. So I set myself up for a surprise!

Newborn Screening Test

According to Baby’s First Test:

Newborn screening is a state public health service that reaches each of the more than 4 million babies born in the United States every year. It ensures that all babies are screened for certain serious conditions at birth, and for those babies with the conditions, it allows doctors to start treatment before some of the harmful effects happen.

Newborn screening is performed soon after the birth of your baby, and in most cases, while you are still in the hospital. All it takes is a few drops of blood and a simple hearing test.

In “Baby 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice For Your Baby’s First Year” we read that the pediatrician is unlikely to discuss the test results unless at least one of the tests is positive. So we expected not to hear anything about newborn screening anymore after our baby’s blood was drawn at the hospit