Prenatal counseling helps women to learn whether their baby may b at increased risk for having a birth defect and assist them in making a decision regarding available testing options. During pregnancy, if a baby is found to have a birth defect, a woman is referred to a prenatal counsellor. A prenatal counsellor helps the expecting women to understand the medical information such as what to expect, how to prepare etc.
To whom prenatal counseling is recommended?
- Pregnant women of age 35 years or older.
- Couples with a previous child, or one of the family members with a birth defect or intellectual disability.
- Women with a complaint of recurrent pregnancy loss.
- Women who have had abnormal results from prenatal screening tests, such as ultrasound.
- Couples who are experiencing infertility.
- Women concerned about an exposure, such as medications or infections, during pregnancy.
What happens during a prenatal counseling?
Depending on the reason for the visit, a prenatal counsellor may do the following things:
- Go through the family and medical history of the pregnant woman.
- Explains the chances of having a child with specific genetic conditions.
- Provides information about any problems detected during pregnancy and helps to understand the available options.
- Provides counseling and emotional support.
- Interprets screening and testing results.
The aim of prenatal counseling is to detect birth defects such as neural tube defects, Down syndrome, Chromosome abnormalities, genetic disorders and other conditions such as spina bifida, cleft palate, cystic fibroids, and Muscular dystrophy. In some cases, the tests are done to determine if the fetus needs to be aborted. Sometimes it is useful to diagnose high-risk pregnancies early, so that delivery can be scheduled in a tertiary care hospital where the baby can receive appropriate care.
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