Newborn metabolic screening

Newborn metabolic screening

Newborn metabolic screening is available to all NZ babies. It's a test which involves collecting a sample of blood from your baby's heel 48 hours after their birth. People often call it the 'heel prick test'.

National Screening Unit - Heel prick information for parents

6 minute video clip - heel prick information for parents

National Screening Unit video

Key points to remember

  • newborn metabolic screening (often known as the Guthrie test or heel prick test) is available to all New Zealand babies
  • the test is done 48 hours after your baby's birth (or as soon as possible after that)
  • while most infants look perfectly healthy, there are some disorders that aren't visible
  • early treatment of conditions can prevent potentially serious complications which can cause permanent damage or even death
  • to screen for these disorders, a sample of blood is collected from your baby's heel

Starship Foundation and the Paediatric Society of New Zealand acknowledge the cooperation of the National Screening Unit in making this information available for families.

This page last reviewed 13 August 2018.
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