September is...

Newborn Screening Awareness Month

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As a new parent, you may have lots of questions because you want to do everything you can to keep your baby safe and healthy. An important first step is to make sure your baby has all parts of the newborn screening testing completed. Early detection and treatment of health issues can help your baby grow up healthier.

Why does my baby need Newborn Screening tests?

All babies are tested because even babies who look healthy may have a health problem.

If these problems are found early, treatment can begin and may be able to prevent serious complications.

When is Newborn Screening completed?

For well-babies, all parts of newborn screening are completed after your baby is 24 hours of age and will be completed before being discharged home from the hospital. If you deliver outside of a hospital setting, your birth provider will either complete the testing or make arrangements for testing 1-2 days after your baby is born. 

Babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) have different screening requirements and schedules. Consult with your hospital caregivers if your baby is in the NICU.

How will my baby be tested?

Blood Spot: A few drops of blood will be taken from the heel and collected on a special filter paper. The sample will be sent to the Bureau of Public Health Laboratory in Jacksonville. Results will take a few days before it is available for the baby’s doctor.

Pulse Oximetry: A small sensor which measures oxygen levels in blood will be placed on the baby’s right hand and one of the feet. This test is painless and is completed quickly. 

Hearing: There are two types of hearing screening equipment, both of which place sensors on the baby’s head to measure the response to auditory stimuli. This test is painless and is completed while the baby is sleeping.

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National Folic Acid Awareness

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Folic acid is a B vitamin that, when taken before and during early pregnancy, helps prevent birth defects of a baby’s brain and spine. Here are two easy ways to get the recommended amount:(1) eat a bowl of cereal or (2) take a vitamin with folic acid daily. Start a healthy habit today and get 400 mcg of folic acid every day. #Folicacid #powertoprevent.

This National Folic Acid Awareness Week, we recognize 30 years of the U.S. Public Health Service folic acid recommendation to help prevent serious birth defects of the brain and spine. More babies in the United States are now born without birth defects of the brain and spine thanks to #folicacid fortification

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Ovarian Cancer Awareness


Ovarian cancer is a group of diseases that originates in the ovaries, or in the related areas of the fallopian tubes and the peritoneum. Women have two ovaries that are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus. The ovaries make female hormones and produce eggs for reproduction. Women have two fallopian tubes that are a pair of long, slender tubes on each side of the uterus. Eggs pass from the ovaries through the fallopian tubes to the uterus. The peritoneum is the tissue lining that covers organs in the abdomen.

When ovarian cancer is found in its early stages, treatment works best. Ovarian cancer often causes signs and symptoms, so it is important to pay attention to your body and know what is normal for you. Symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see your doctor, nurse, or other health care professional.

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National Suicide Prevention


The 988 Lifeline

988 is now active across the United States. This new, shorter phone number will make it easier for people to remember and access mental health crisis services. (Please note, the previous 1-800-273-TALK (8255) number will continue to function indefinitely.) Click below to learn more about 988.

Warning Signs

Warning signs that someone may be at immediate risk for attempting suicide include:

  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves

  • Talking about feeling empty or hopeless or having no reason to live

  • Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions

  • Feeling unbearable emotional or physical pain

  • Talking about being a burden to others

  • Withdrawing from family and friends

  • Giving away important possessions

  • Saying goodbye to friends and family

  • Putting affairs in order, such as making a will

  • Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast

  • Talking or thinking about death often

Other serious warning signs that someone may be at risk for attempting suicide include:

  • Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy

  • Making a plan or looking for ways to kill themselves, such as searching for lethal methods online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun

  • Talking about feeling great guilt or shame

  • Using alcohol or drugs more often

  • Acting anxious or agitated

  • Changing eating or sleeping habits

  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

It is important to note that suicide is not a normal response to stress. Suicidal thoughts or actions are a sign of extreme distress and should not be ignored. If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently.

Maternal Mental Health

Maternal mental health concerns can include a range of symptoms, including but not limited to depression, anxiety and psychosis. These can occur during pregnancy and/or postpartum. When left untreated, these symptoms can cause devastating consequences for the mother and her family.

How To Help

Ask and listen: Be an active part of your loved ones’ support systems and check-in with them often. Many mothers, particularly those with depression or intrusive thoughts have a fear of speaking up for a number of reasons. If they show any warning signs for suicide, be direct. Tell them it’s OK to talk about suicidal feelings. Practice active listening techniques and let them talk without judgment. Mothers often experience significant stigma and shame, particularly if she had a wanted and an uneventful pregnancy/delivery and a healthy baby. Stigma and shame surrounding mental health can also be culturally grounded and it can be helpful to recognize cultural nuances.


Learn the facts: Maternal mental health concerns can be caused by a combination of biological, psychological and social stressors, such as lack of support, a family history, or a previous experience with these symptoms. Maternal anxiety and depression are the most common complications of childbirth, impacting up to 1 in 5 women, yet they are not universally screened for, nor treated. 


Get them help and take care of yourself: Don’t be afraid to get your loved one the help they might need. The risk for both depression and anxiety can be reduced and sometimes prevented, and with treatment women can recover. The Lifeline is always here to talk or chat, both for crisis intervention and to support family, friends, and loved ones. 

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