The goal of every pregnant woman and her doctor is the birth of a healthy baby. Most babies are normal and healthy. However, 2-3% of babies are born with some type of birth (congenital) defect or genetic condition. Prenatal genetic counseling can help you learn whether your baby may be at increased risk for having a genetic disorder or birth defect and assist you in making decision regarding available testing options.
Genetic counseling may identify those couples with an increased risk of having a child with a birth defect or genetic disorder and help them understand the nature of the condition, the inheritance, and the chance of occurrence or recurrence. Genetic counseling will also assist couples in making decision about various screening or testing options in the pregnancy.
Genetic counseling is recommended for:
- Pregnant women 35 years or older, or any woman interested in learning more about screening or testing options during pregnancy
- Couples with a previous child, or other family member, with a genetic disorder, birth defect, or mental retardation
- Couples who are known to carry abnormal chromosomes or genes
- Women who have abnormal results of screening tests in pregnancy
- Pregnant women who have been exposed to agents with a potential for causing birth defects (teratogens)
- Couples with unexplained repeated miscarriages , stillbirths, or infant deaths
- Pregnant women who have a fetal abnormality detected by ultrasound
- History of infertility of unknown cause
- Increased risk for specific inherited conditions, based on ethnic background
If you or your physician think you are a candidate for genetic counseling, you will see a genetic counselor who will ask you for detailed medical and family history information.
- To find out whether your future children may be at increased risk for a problem, to explain these risks and indicate what testing options are available to detect or rule out the condition
- To describe in detail the nature, capabilities, and risks of prenatal diagnostic procedures
- To assist couples in making appropriate decision regarding available testing and screening options
Our patient information pages can be found here. These pages outline the prenatal diagnostic procedures offered through referral by a physician, some common fetal findings, age-related risk factors, and the implications of test results.