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Nurse with baby

Newborn Testing and Screening

Twenty-four hours after being welcomed into the world, newborns at the Birthing Center will undergo various medical screenings.

Newborn Screen

The first is a special test called the Newborn Screen, which screens all babies born in the State of Maryland for several medical conditions that could make them ill after they are born. The goal of this screening is to identify babies who may appear to be healthy, but may have an underlying medical condition, so they can get the appropriate treatment before they exhibit symptoms. The screening is done by a heel stick, which will provide the blood for the testing. A second screening will be completed by the pediatrician at a later visit.

Hearing Screening

The State of Maryland also requires that a hearing screening be done on all newborns prior to leaving the hospital. This test is done on the second day of life and is painless to the newborn. This type of screening is imperative since hearing loss can affect a baby's language development. If the baby does not pass the test when it is first administered, it may be repeated; if he or she does not pass a second screening, parents will be referred to an audiologist for follow-up.

Birth Certificate and Social Security Card

Prior to heading home, a birth certificate information worksheet will need to be completed. The Birthing Center is required by the State of Maryland to submit this information within 72 hours of a baby's birth.

If the baby's mother and father are not married, and they want the father's name is on the birth certificate, an Affidavit of Parentage must be completed and signed by both mother and father in the presence of a witness during the Birthing Center stay.

Upon completion of the information worksheet, a birth certificate should arrive in the mail within six weeks.

The worksheet also gives parents the opportunity to apply for a social security number for the newborn. The social security card should arrive within three weeks.