The data advanced to Lusa agency by the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA) indicates that, in the first three months of the year, 1,437 more babies were screened with the “heel prick test” than in the same period of 2022 (19,628) under the National Neonatal Screening Program (PNRN), coordinated by INSA, through its Unit of Neonatal Screening, Metabolism and Genetics, Department of Human Genetics.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, in which 21,124 babies were screened in the first three months of 2020, the number of births did not exceed the 20,000 barrier in the first quarter, with 18,226 newborns screened in 2021 and 19,628 in 2022 in the same period , according to data from the program that covers almost all births in Portugal.

Data indicates that January was the month with the highest number of births (7,649), followed by March (7,196), and, lastly, February with 6,220 babies.

Where are most births?

In this first quarter, Lisbon was the district with the most tests performed (6,251), followed by Porto (3,799), Setúbal (1,746), Braga (1,520), Faro (1,082) and Aveiro (970).

The lowest number of tests was observed in the districts of Portalegre (121), Bragança (163), Vila Real (239), followed by Castelo Branco (249) and Viana do Castelo (363), according to the program coordinated by INSA.

In 2022, Portugal once again surpassed the barrier of 80,000 births, after the historic drop in birth rates in 2021, 83,436 newborns in that year, an increase of 5.3% compared to 2021 (79,217), the year in which Portugal recorded the lowest number of births.

Before this minimum recorded in 2021, the lowest number had been verified in 2014, with 83,100 tests carried out in the country, and the highest in 2000 (118,577), according to data consulted by Lusa.

The "heel prick test" is carried out from the third day of life of the newborn, by collecting a few droplets of blood from the child's foot, and currently allows the detection of 27 diseases.