'Newborn screening is that "heel poke" done to the baby at about 24 hours old before leaving the hospital and again at the pediatrician's office in a week. It is also known as the PKU.
In a baby with a normal metabolism, these products are made and then broken down or used up without causing any problems. Some babies are born with inborn metabolic errors that typically cause toxic levels of normal metabolic by-products to build up. These by-products can be measured via a dried blood sample taken from the baby at specific times: 24 hours and up to 5 days. Each state has the same basic panel plus others that have been deemed necessary.
I offer this test which includes poking of your baby's heel. It is generally done at the end of the postpartum home visit when you are holding him, he is warm, and he is nursing. This helps with the pain of the poke. Usually, the baby cries briefly and then continues to nurse. I will take the sample, process it, and mail it to the DOH.
You can decline the newborn screening tests but must sign the screening card stating your refusal. You then send it to the state since it does not require any processing. If refused you may be contacted by the Public Health for follow up.