In the first week after birth, a few drops of blood will be taken from your baby’s heel. The blood will then be tested by a laboratory for a number of rare and severe diseases. These diseases can be treated by medicines or by a diet, for instance.
Tracing these diseases early means that treatment can be started quickly and will help to prevent any serious harm to your baby's development. This is why it is important that your baby has the heel prick screening onderzoek (onderzoek ) test.
How to prepare for the heel prick
Register the birth of your baby at your local Civil Registry Office (Burgerzaken) as soon as possible. In any case, do this within 3 days after the baby is born, then you will know for sure that the heel prick test can be done on time. Please note that the Civil Registry Office is closed on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
After the birth has been registered, the Youth Health Care services in your local area will arrange for someone to come to your home for the heel prick test. The person who does the test is called the screener. It could be an employee of the Youth Health Care services, an obstetric care provider or a maternity nurse.
Please have the following information at hand when the screener visits
When doing the heel prick test, the screener will ask you for a few details. These details are necessary to be able to assess the result of the heel prick test properly. It is important to know:
- the number of weeks of pregnancy at birth;
- the birth weight of your baby;
- the name and telephone number of your general practitioner.
Doing the heel prick test
A few days after your baby is born, the screener will come to your home to do the heel prick test. Sometimes the screener will contact you first to say when he or she is coming. Often your baby will have a hearing test at the same time. If your baby is in hospital, the heel prick test will be done in the hospital.
For the heel prick test the screener will take a few drops of blood from your baby’s heel. The drops of blood are collected on a special card called the heel prick card. Your baby may cry for a short time.
Seven days and still no heel prick test?
If the heel prick test still hasn’t been done by seven days after birth, then contact your regional RIVM Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu) office. A screener will come to your home as soon as possible. The telephone numbers of the RIVM offices are listed here.