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Getting your baby's heel prick results

If your baby's screening results are negative

Most babies will be found not to have any of the conditions.

If your baby has a negative screening result, you will not be contacted with the result. This is because the screen shows that your baby is not suspected of having any of 9 conditions we screen for.

You can ask your public health nurse (PHN) for the results at your baby's next health check, or before if you are concerned.

If your baby's screening results are positive

If your baby has a positive screening result for one of the 9 conditions, you will be contacted by a nurse or doctor. This usually happens a few days after your midwife or nurse sends your baby's blood sample to the laboratory for screening.

A positive screening result doesn't always mean your baby has one of the conditions. Doctors will need to do some more tests to confirm whether your baby has the condition or not. Your baby may need to stay in hospital during this time.

If your baby has one of the conditions, they will be referred to a specialist centre.

For most conditions, your baby will be referred to the Children’s University Hospital in Temple Street, Dublin.

If your baby is suspected of having cystic fibrosis, they'll be referred to a hospital in Dublin, Cork, Limerick or Galway, depending on where you live.

A team of specialist health professionals will work with you to manage your baby’s condition. The team may include doctors, nurses, dietitians and physiotherapists.

Most babies with these conditions will grow healthy and well once treatment has started and is adhered to.

Repeat heel prick screens

Occasionally, the midwife or PHN will contact you to do a second heel prick screen. This may happen if there was not enough blood on the first screening card, or if the results are not clear.

Like all screening, the heel prick is not 100% reliable.

Related topics

Conditions your heel prick screens for

What happens to your baby's blood sample

page last reviewed: 28/11/2018
next review due: 28/11/2021