Heather White is getting ready to be a new mom, she's read all the books but there are a few things she's still not fully prepared for.
"A lot of things are overwhelming when you're thinking about going to the hospital and thinking about what baby's going to wear and you don't think about any of these newborn screens or all these things baby needs to do." Said White.
The newborn screenings are something that many new parents, like Heather, may not realize are going to happen at the hospital. Many parents could be a little surprised when they see nurses pricking their baby's heel.
The heel prick is part of what's called the metabolic screen and it's done about 24 hours after baby is born. Doctors are looking for numerous diseases and deficiencies. But the process isn't too complicated or hard on baby, the entire screen is done with just 5 drops of baby's blood.
"It's something we routinely test for, it's something we want done on all babies because if we can change some of the course of these diseases that's huge for the lives of these children." Said Dr. Kara Bruning, a pediatrician with Avera Medical Group Pediatrics.
Dr. Bruning says newborn screenings can help correct diseases like cystic fibrosis and other developmental issues. While it is a routine test parents can choose against it.
"That is their right if they choose to have their child not tested but that can be a bad thing down the road if they come up with one of these diseases that we could have started treating early and could have a really poor outcome for those children." Said Dr. Bruning.
Heather says she didn't know about the screening until meeting with Dr. Bruning. In her opinion that little heel prick is worth it.
"At least it's peace of mind for new parents so if there is something wrong and they need to do further evaluation and treatment it'll be ahead of time." Said White.
Many new parents have their short term plan ready leading up to when baby gets here. But Dr. Bruning says the long term plan also needs to be in place.
"At least before the baby is born you're going to want to know who the baby's doctor is going to be. Is it a family practice doctor, a pediatrician, who is going to take care of this child after it's born, those are the important questions that we need to decide when you're still pregnant before you get to the hospital and go, who's on call?" Said Dr. Bruning.
Heather still has a few more weeks before her due date but decided to go with Dr. Bruning and her team at Avera McGreevy Pediatrics.
"Here at McGreevy it's so nice I got to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bruning and meet her and she got to go through all this stuff beforehand where other parents may not have been as educated so I kind of feel I'm a step ahead of the game now." Said White.
Taking the time to educate yourself on what's going to happen before baby gets here will allow new parents to focus on the important things like spending those quality moments with your new bundle of joy.
Like Dr. Bruning said, many of the conditions are treatable, but doctors are not always able to diagnose newborns without doing the screening.
For more information about newborn screenings just call 877-AT-AVERA.