Understanding Michigan’s Newborn Screening Program

There’s a lot that comes to mind when thinking about why living in Michigan is so great: The Great Lakes, all four seasons in one year, locally-grown produce and the newborn screening program.

Okay, that last one might not have been the first, second or even last thing that popped into your mind, but it is a benefit that often goes overlooked.

The state of Michigan offers a robust Newborn Screening program that tests all newborn babies at 24-36 hours of age for hearing loss, heart disease and more than 50 rare but serious diseases. Michigan tests for 59 conditions – only 10 states and the District of Columbia test for more.

This process is required by Michigan law and helps detect disorders that can be fatal to the infant in some cases. Even if your baby looks and seems healthy, this testing is necessary because symptoms for these serious disorders aren’t always obvious at birth but can develop quickly if not detected early. Some of the over 50 disorders newborns are tested for could affect infants’:

• Brain development
• Hormones
• Immune system
• Lung capacity
• Blood cells

The screening process allows hospitals to detect even the earliest signs of diseases such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease and congenital hypothyroidism. Early intervention and treatment can be critical to keep babies healthy.

What happens if my child tests positive?

Receiving notification that your child tested positive for any of these disorders can cause alarm, but it is good to remember that the screening has caught the disorder early. Your health care provider will contact you to inform you if your newborn tested positive for any of the disorders and will explain what your next steps will be. Oftentimes more testing is required as well.

So, although the Michigan Newborn Screening program might not be the first quality that comes to mind when you reflect on all of Michigan’s positive aspects, it surely is one that helps keep newly-born Michiganders healthy.

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Photo credit: Pixabay

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