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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why does my baby need newborn screening tests?


  • Most babies are healthy when they are born.
  • We test all babies because a few babies look healthy but have a rare health problem.
  • If we find these problems early, we can help prevent serious problems like organ damage, mental retardation or death.

Q: How will my baby be tested?


  • A few drops of blood are taken while your baby is still in the hospital nursery.
  • The hospital sends the blood sample to the Arkansas Public Health Laboratory for testing.
  • If your baby is not born in the hospital, your baby will need to be tested by the seventh day of life in the doctor’s office or local health department.

Q: How will I get the results of the test?


  • Your baby’s doctor can give you the test results.
  • Ask about results when you take your baby for a check-up.

Q: What if my baby needs to be retested?


  • Your baby’s doctor will contact you if there is a problem.
  • Sometimes the test may have been done too soon after birth (the test is most accurate when done after 24 hours of age)
  • Some babies need repeat testing if they were born prematurely or needed special care after birth such as a blood transfusion.
  • A few babies need to be retested because the first test showed a possible health problem.
  • Your baby’s doctor will tell you why the baby needs to be retested and what to do next.
  • If your baby needs to be retested, it is very important to get it done right away.
  • Make sure that your hospital and doctor have your correct address and phone number.

Q: How can I learn more about the conditions tested in Arkansas?

Answer: In Arkansas, babies are tested for over 25 different conditions, including sickle cell and cystic fibrosis (CF).

Conditions Tested for in Arkansas

Q: What if I have questions?

Answer: Ask your baby’s doctor if you have questions or concerns.