Already in the first week of your baby's life, your baby must endure something very annoying: the heel prick. The heel prick is not mandatory, but it is advisable to do so because it can be investigated whether your baby has certain serious or rare congenital diseases. Read more about this in this article what is a heel prickwhen it is given and how to arrange it.
What is a heel prick?
The heel prick is a prick that takes a few drops of blood from the baby's heel. This prick is given in the first week by means of a lancing device. The drops are collected on a blotting paper. The blotting paper is sent to a laboratory. Here it is examined whether your baby suffers from a serious, rare congenital disease. Think of thyroid diseases, adrenal gland disease, metabolic disease, cystic fibrosis or sickle cell disease.
Heel prick when?
The heel prick is given in the first week after the birth of your little one. You do not have to do anything for this. After birth you give your baby to the municipality (that must be anyway). It is best to do so within 3 days after the birth. The consultation office then receives a notification of your declaration. After this you will be approached by an employee of the GGD, home care or the midwife to make an appointment. The heel prick is given at your home. When your baby is in the hospital, it is done there. Is your baby already 8 days old and you have not yet received a message? Then contact the RIVM-DVP in your region.
Why in the heel?
You may ask yourself (and many other ladies with you) why the heel prick should be in the heel. That is because the blood veins are the easiest to find in the heel of your baby. That is because the circulation is very good in the heel. Make sure that your baby does not have an ice cold foot, but that it is a little warm. That is even better for blood circulation. The sooner they can find a vein, the sooner this little hell is over for your baby. By the way, your baby will feel an annoying prick very briefly, but he or she will recover soon.
Heel prick rash
If the result is good, you do not hear anything. A bit similar to the final exam. Only you do not have to wait 1 day, but 4 weeks. If there is a call within those 4 weeks, something abnormal has been found or they have not been able to carry out the investigation properly. In both cases, a second heel prick must be applied. This happens within 4 weeks. Only if this also shows a deviation, a follow-up investigation is needed in the hospital.
It may happen that the follow-up research indicates that nothing is wrong. In exceptional cases your child actually has a disease. This will then be dealt with immediately. Unfortunately, the diseases can not be cured, only to be treated.
If you did not receive a phone call in the 4 weeks after the jab, nothing abnormal has been found. Unfortunately, this is no guarantee that your child actually has nothing. It is possible that a disease will reappear later. However, this is not often the case.
Reject heel prick
You are absolutely not obliged to participate in the heel prick. When someone contacts you for an appointment, you are free to refuse the heel prick. Yet it is wise to have the heel prick performed. At first you do not have to pay anything and you know whether your baby has a certain condition. When this is the case, the disease can be treated immediately.
Extension of the heel prick
To date, the blood of babies has been tested for 19 diseases by means of the heel prick. State Secretary Paul Blokhuis wants to change that so that the blood can be examined for 31 diseases. These are diseases that unfortunately can not be cured but can be treated. The sooner a treatment can be started, the less damage the disease can cause.
The diseases that will be tested include cystic fibrosis and hereditary blood diseases. Thanks to the extension of the test, there are probably 20 to 40 more children with a serious disease detected above the approximately 180 newborns with a condition that is already being discovered annually. The total of 12 new diseases that can be investigated are gradually added to the test until 2022.