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What happens during the heel prick screen

Your midwife or public health nurse carries out the heel prick screen in hospital or at your home. They usually do the heel prick 3 to 5 days after your baby is born.

The midwife or nurse will take a few drops of blood from your baby's heel using a special device. They use your baby's heel as this is less uncomfortable for your baby.

They collect the blood onto a special card called a newborn bloodspot screening card.

The card has three parts:

  • one part for collecting your baby's blood
  • one part for recording information about your baby and your signed consent to screening
  • one part to tear off and keep for your records

How you can help your baby during the heel prick

You can help your baby by:

  • making sure they're warm and comfortable
  • being ready to feed or cuddle your baby

The midwife or nurse then sends the screening card to the National Newborn Bloodspot Screening Laboratory at the Children’s University Hospital in Temple Street in Dublin.

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