Pregnancy and Babycare: Genetic Counseling

Pregnancy and Babycare: Genetic Counseling

Genetic counselling can help you   decide, whether to seek preventive or early treatment for a disease or disorder for which you or your baby is at high risk. With the guidance of genetic counsellors you can sort out all the information about genetic disorders and make informed choices.

If you have decided to have a baby, then genetic counselling constitutes a very crucial aspect of pre-conceptional planning. The doctor can run several tests to assess your health. These tests are referred to as genetic tests,  which could be tests on blood and other tissues to find genetic disorders.  Your doctor will discuss the genetic risks with you and then will ask   you to follow up with genetic testing. You must go for genetic testing   prior to pregnancy if you have a family history of any birth defects.

There are several reasons   to seek genetic counselling, a few of them are listed below:

  • If you have or are concerned   that you have an inherited disorder.
  • If you are planning to be   pregnant or are pregnant after the age of 35.
  • If you have had two or more   pregnancy losses or a baby who died.
  • If you have had screening tests or ultrasound that suggest a possible problem.
  • If you already have a child with a birth defect or genetic disorder.

Before you get pregnant it is worth knowing if you carry the genes of inherited diseases. So it is very important for the couple to consult the doctor and have a discussion about genetic tests. Going for these tests well in advance gives you time to think about your risks of passing on these genes to   the baby. Genetic testing provides valuable information that could benefit you and your baby’s health.

There are several types of genetic tests to determine a person’s risk of developing or passing on to their child, specific inherited disorders. Some serious disorders that can be detected include:

  • Huntington’s disease, a degenerative disorder that affects the nervous system and brain.
  • Cystic fibrosis, a disease that causes over activity of the exocrine glands.
  • Spinal muscular atrophy, a disease in which one loses the ability to control their muscle movements.
  • Mental retardness; Fragile X is the most common genetic cause for retardation and a baby boy is more prone to get affected if the mother is a carrier of Fragile X.

A few couples in which both the partners are carriers for some incurable disorders choose to have donor eggs or donor sperms rather than pass on the genes. Genetic counselling gives you all the information that you require, even when it comes to making a choice between options.

Genetic testing is one tool that is majorly used in the process of genetic counselling but it is not always required to predict the risk of developing or passing on a disorder to your baby. Sometimes non-genetic medical tests can also reveal the presence of inherited disorders. A genetic counsellor can provide you the necessary information on the basis of your personal health history and family health history.

Genetic counselling as an aspect of pre-conceptional planning helps make the transition to motherhood a smooth one!

Doctor Vista Healthcare Resource

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