Newborn Metabolic Screening Program

Information for Parents & Guardians

Babies born in Alberta are tested for certain treatable conditions shortly after birth. This test is different from those done during pregnancy. Using a quick heel poke, drops of blood are collected on a special card and tested for 22 treatable conditions.

This test, called newborn blood spot screening, is the best way to find out if your baby has a certain treatable condition that you, your doctor, or your midwife might not know about.

Screening is safe, quick and will be offered to you soon after your baby’s birth before you are discharged.

Screening is provided by Alberta Health Services (AHS) through Alberta’s Newborn Metabolic Screening (NMS) Program.

About Alberta’s NMS Program

Alberta’s NMS Program is a province-wide screening program offered to all babies born in Alberta by AHS.

The program works to prevent health problems, improve newborn health and save lives of Alberta newborns through early diagnosis and treatment of certain conditions, including:

  • metabolic conditions that cause problems with how your body uses food to make and store energy.
  • endocrine conditions that cause problems with how your body makes hormones.
  • cystic fibrosis which causes problems with how you breathe and digest food.
  • sickle cell disease which affects your blood and causes damage to heart, lungs, and kidneys.
  • severe combined immunodeficiency which affects your ability to fight infections.
  • spinal muscular atrophy which causes muscle weakness, including weakness that gets worse over time (wasting).

For more information about the treatable conditions, view What conditions are screened for?

Visit the NMS Program’s service listing to learn more about the program and to find out where screening is available.