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Genetic Counseling
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While increased age of the mother is the most common reason for genetic counseling, there are other reasons such screening is done. Genetic counseling is available to potential parents who may have a genetic disorder in their family, who might be ethnically predisposed to certain genetic disorders, or who may have other factors, such as exposures to chemicals in the workplace or the need to be on certain medications that may suggest an increased risk to a developing baby. A complete family medical history will be evaluated as part of the genetic counseling process. In some cases, genetic testing may be available to further determine possible risks prior to pregnancy.

If you have had previous difficulties, including if you have already given birth to a child with a genetic disorder or birth defect, or if you have a history of two or more unexplained miscarriages or stillbirths, you may wish to consider genetic counseling. If you will be 35 or over, genetic counseling is recommended to discuss the age-related risks and the screening and diagnostic tests that are available to you. Remember, even though some risks increase after age 35, most women are able to deliver healthy babies. Genetic counseling prior to pregnancy helps you to better understand the risks, learn if there is anything that may reduce the potential risks, and learn about the tests that are available during pregnancy to give you more information.

If you’re already pregnant, there are a number of different tests available to help determine if your baby may be at a higher risk for certain problems.

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