Newborn Screenings and Procedures

Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) Screening

Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect. Infants with CHD have abnormal structure to their heart which creates abnormal blood flow patterns. 24-hours after birth, a nurse will test your newborn using a pulse oximeter on his or her hand and foot. This test is painless, instant and will take less than 5 minutes from start to finish.


At birth, boys have skin called foreskin covering the end of the penis. A circumcision is when the foreskin is surgically removed leaving the tip of the penis uncovered. For some families, circumcision is a religious ritual. There are medical benefits and risks to circumcision. Possible benefits include a lower risk of urinary tract infections, penile cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. The risks include pain and a low risk, less than 2%, of bleeding or infection.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found that the medical benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks. They recommend that parents make this decision in consultation with their pediatrician. Parents need to decide what is best for their sons, based on their religious, cultural and personal preferences.


Guthrie provides comprehensive screening for jaundice (yellow pigment). Your newborn will be tested for jaundice shortly after birth; a monitor is placed on your newborns forehead for a few seconds. The procedure is accurate, safe, quick and painless. If the reading is high a blood test is performed. Some jaundice is normal but a high level can be harmful.

Hearing Screening

Newborn hearing screenings are designed to identify hearing loss in infants. Hearing tests are performed in the hospital shortly after birth. If hearing loss is identified within the first 6 months of life effected newborns have a greater chance at developing skills equivalent to their peers by the time they enter school.

Guthrie performs a newborn hearing test that measures the ability for sound to reach the brain. This test is performed by playing sounds in the infant’s ears while sticker electrodes are placed on the baby’s forehead to detect a response. The test takes about 10 minutes from start to finish.