Newborn Screening

Newborn metabolic screening (or the 'heel prick test') is available to all New Zealand babies. While most infants look perfectly healthy, there are some disorders that aren't obvious. To screen for these disorders, a sample of blood is collected from your baby's heel.

a mother and her newborn

Some premature babies need eye checks to screen for a condition called retinopathy of prematurity. Find out what happens when your premature baby has an eye check to look at the back of the eye.

The heel prick test is a blood test - it involves collecting a sample of blood from your baby's heel 48 hours after their birth. The test is part of the Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme. Early detection and diagnosis means that treatment can start quickly, before a baby becomes sick. Metabolic disorders are hard to find without screening.