By The Early Check Team

What’s Early Check?

Early Check is a research study that offers health tests for all babies born in North Carolina. The testing is free, no travel is required, and nothing is needed from your baby. All that moms need to do is visit to learn more about the study and sign up here. If you’re wondering… what’s the catch? There isn’t one!

RTI International, a non-profit research organization in North Carolina is leading this effort along with their partners at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, Wake Forest School of Medicine, and the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health. The study aims to learn more about rare health conditions that are not screened as part of standard newborn screening, and how to give babies with these conditions the best start.

What are the health conditions screened?

Babies born in North Carolina are already screened for a set of 37 health conditions shortly after birth as part of standard newborn screening. Early Check tests for two additional rare health conditions:

  1. Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)
  2. Fragile X Syndrome

Because these health conditions are rare, they are typically not diagnosed until there are symptoms. Early Check researchers want to find babies early, before this happens. Even though there are no treatments to cure these conditions right now, there are things that can help and knowing early can give parents important information and connections with local specialists.

Am I eligible?

You can join Early Check when:

  • You’re more than 12 weeks pregnant, or
  • You had a baby less than 4 weeks ago who was born in North Carolina

So, how does Early Check work?

Early Check uses a small amount of blood that is taken from a baby’s heel shortly after birth in the hospital or birthing center as part of standard newborn screening. Early Check uses what’s leftover to do the Early Check screening tests. No additional doctor’s visits are needed, so you and your baby can rest easy.

Moms must give permission to be a part of Early Check by visiting Early Check results will be ready by the time the baby is 2 months old. Moms will be notified by text or email when normal results are available. Results can be found by logging into the Early Check secure portal.

Remember, the conditions are rare, so most babies will not have them. But, if the results are not normal, the mom will receive a phone call from an Early Check genetic counselor who will explain the results, provide counseling and support, and arrange for additional free testing if needed.

Ready to Sign-Up? Visit the Early Check website:

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