Prenatal Genetics Clinic
We offer continued support to families who receive an abnormal test result or learn about unexpected ultrasound findings. It is our job to help patients understand the meaning of this information and review their reproductive choices. If available, we will explain further testing options that may provide additional information, as well as help patients develop a plan to manage the rest of their pregnancy.
Consider Genetic Counseling
Some couples have a health history that may increase the risk of having a baby with a genetic condition or birth defect.
You May Consider Genetic Counseling If You:
- Are pregnant and will be 35 years or older at the time of delivery
- Have a personal or family history of a genetic condition, birth defect, or chromosome abnormality
- Have a family member that is a carrier of a genetic disease
- Have been identified as a carrier of a genetic disease
- You and your partner share a common ancestor (e.g. are first cousins)
Common Prenatal Genetic Tests
There are many prenatal genetic testing options available. These tests fall into two groups: screening tests and diagnostic tests.
Together, we will decide which of these tests, if any, are available to you.
Options Are Based on Your Personal and Family History
- Carrier screening
- Cell-free fetal DNA screening/ Noninvasive prenatal screening
- Chorionic villi sampling (CVS)
- Maternal serum screening
What to Expect From a Prenatal Genetic Counseling Appointment
In general, a prenatal genetic counseling appointment lasts between 30 minutes to an hour. Most patients attend one or two visits. Follow-up conversations can happen over the phone.
A genetic counselor will review your personal and family health history.
Sometimes, we may offer genetic testing. In this case, your counselor will explain the risks, benefits, and limitations of the testing options. If you choose to pursue testing, your counselor will review the results and guide you through next steps.
If you are currently pregnant and have learned about an unexpected ultrasound finding in your baby, we will also discuss:
- Additional genetic and/or other testing options that may provide more information about the health of your baby, if available
- A review of any previous genetic screening results, if applicable
- Information about the specific ultrasound finding in your baby
- Reproductive choices
- Resources, including support groups, to help you prepare for the birth of a baby with special needs or a health problem
If you are currently pregnant and have an abnormal (positive) screening result, we will also discuss:
- Additional genetic testing options that may provide a conclusive answer about the health of your baby
- Information about the screening test and what your result means
How to Prepare for a Prenatal Genetic Counseling Appointment
Your family history can provide important information about your health risks. To prepare for a genetic counseling appointment, it is helpful to talk to your relatives about medical conditions that run in the family.
Questions to Guide Your Conversation
- Do I have a family member that had a stillbirth or infant death?
- Do I have a family member that had three or more miscarriages?
- Has there been a pregnancy or child born with a birth defect, genetic condition, or chromosome abnormality?
- Is there a specific genetic condition that runs in our family? (If so, try to get a copy of the family member’s genetic test report.)
We encourage you to bring a partner or support person to the appointment. It is also helpful to bring a list of your questions and concerns.