Taking the blood sample

The blood sample is taken by using a lancet to make a tiny incision in the baby’s heel.

Drops of blood are collected on a blood spot card, filling four marked circles.  Once collected the blood is allowed to dry then sent to the laboratory (www.labplus.co.nz) for testing.


You have the right to decide whether or not your baby has screening. Lead Maternity Carers (LMCs) are responsible for talking to you about the Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme and asking for your consent for the sample to be taken.  For more information see the pamphlet Your Newborn Baby's Blood Test.

Who takes the blood sample?

The blood sample is taken by a lead maternity carer, hospital midwife, or trained blood taker (phlebotomist).

Where is the blood sample taken?

The blood sample can be taken at the hospital or birthing centre, at home or in some areas at certain laboratories.

Preparing your baby for the blood sample to be taken

You can prepare your baby for the sample to be taken by putting booties on your baby or wrapping your baby's feet up well. This makes sure that your baby's heel is warm and it is easier and quicker to take the blood sample.

Having a heel prick might cause your baby some discomfort.  You can reduce your baby’s discomfort by feeding or cuddling your baby while the blood sample is being taken.

Your LMC can talk to you about other ways of keeping your baby comfortable while the blood sample is taken.

Page last updated: 01 December 2014