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About the test

Who will take the bloodspot sample?

Newborn bloodspot screening is carried out five days after your baby’s birth. Occasionally this may be later than five days. The sample is usually taken by the midwife in your home, or in the hospital.
Other health professionals, who have been trained to carry out newborn bloodspot screening, may take the sample.

How will the bloodspot sample be taken?

The midwife will prick your baby’s heel using a special device to collect four drops of blood onto a newborn bloodspot screening card. Collecting these bloodspots usually takes a few minutes. The card is sent to the Newborn Screening Laboratory in Cardiff for testing. The midwife will write your baby’s details on the card to identify them.
The heel prick may be uncomfortable and your baby may cry.

You can help by:

  • making sure your baby is warm and comfortable, and
  • cuddling your baby and giving them a feed.

Are repeat blood samples ever needed?

Occasionally the midwife or health visitor will contact you and ask to take a second blood sample from your baby’s heel.
This may be because:

  • there was not enough blood collected
  • the information recorded on the blood spot card was incomplete
  • the result was unclear
  • your baby was born early, or your baby had a blood transfusion before the test.

Your midwife or health visitor will explain the reason to you. It is important that if a repeat test is needed, it is done promptly so that all the tests have been completed within the early weeks of life.