Should You Speak to a Genetic Counselor Before Getting Pregnant?

Choosing to start a family can be a complex decision for many. You need to balance your desire to have a baby with an assortment of real-life concerns about raising one. For some, a real concern is the risk of passing on a genetic disorder to their child. If this is an issue for you, a genetic counselor can be helpful.

Genetic or “hereditary” conditions are diseases that run in families. If you or your partner has a parent or grandparent with one of these types of conditions, there is an increased chance that your baby is predisposed to developing it as well. 

couple meets with a genetic counselor at Jamaica Hospital

Genetic counselors are specialists that can help you understand the causes of genetic conditions, what types of screenings and diagnostic tests are available to you, and what your chances are of having a baby with a genetic condition. In addition, genetic counselors can help potential parents deal with how genetic conditions can affect your family emotionally.

Genetic counselors can help determine the likelihood of your baby developing a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Single gene disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease or hemophilia
  • Chromosomal abnormalities that can lead to conditions such as Down syndrome
  • Complex disorders such as heart defects, spina bifida, or cleft palate which can be caused by a combination of genetic predispositions and environmental factors

There are multiple factors that can increase a person’s risk of passing along a genetic disorder, including:

  • A family history of a genetic disorder
  • A prior child with a genetic disorder
  • One parent with a chromosomal abnormality
  • Advanced maternal age (35 or older)
  • Advanced paternal age (40 or older)
  • Multiple miscarriages or prior stillbirth

To help prepare for your appointment, a genetic counselor may ask you to collect the medical histories of you and your partner’s parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings, including a history of birth defects in your family. You may also be asked to provide a history of all other known medical conditions in your family, the age at which your family members were diagnosed and of any deaths resulting from these conditions.

If you are planning a pregnancy a genetic counselor can help you assess your risk-factors, review testing options, provide education and resources, and help you make informed decisions.

To make an appointment with a genetic counselor at Jamaica Hospital’s Women’s Health Center, please call 718-291-3276.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Could You Be Pregnant? 10 Signs You May Be

A common question many women ask after missing their period is, “could I be pregnant?”  There are early symptoms that you could look out for that may indicate pregnancy. These signs may show up a week or two after you have missed your period and can include:

 

  1. Mood swings
  2. Food aversions
  3. Frequent urination
  4. Spotting and cramping
  5. Constipation
  6. Changes in breasts that may involve swelling or tenderness
  7. Fatigue
  8. Headaches
  9. Back pain
  10. Darkening of nipples

Every woman’s body is unique; therefore, some may experience multiple symptoms or none at all during the early stages of their pregnancies.  If you believe you could be pregnant, it is advised that you see your doctor to confirm the pregnancy.   Once your pregnancy is confirmed, your doctor will discuss a prenatal care plan that is best for you and your baby’s health.

Prenatal care is vital because it improves the chances of a healthy pregnancy.  Women who do not receive prenatal care are three times more likely to have low birthweight babies and are more at risk of having complications caused by pregnancy.

To speak with a doctor about your pregnancy or prenatal care, please schedule an appointment with an OB/GYN at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center by calling 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Prenatal Customs From Around The World

prenatal 179220184Prenatal customs may vary from country to country but what is found to be universal is: mothers want what’s best for their babies. In order to ensure the health of developing babies some mothers may practice customs that may seem unusual or non-traditional. Here a few customs practiced by women from around the world that are believed to be beneficial during pregnancy:

Japan– It is believed by some that being surrounded by positive images, thinking and music promotes a healthy pregnancy. It is also customary for mother and baby to stay at the mother’s parents’ home for at least a month after leaving the hospital.

Bali-In Bali moms-to-be are at times discouraged from eating octopus; it is believed that doing so can cause difficulties during pregnancy.

Netherlands– Most expecting mothers in Holland are often referred to a midwife during pregnancy instead of an obstetrician. Family doctors will however refer women to an obstetrician if the pregnancy is high risk or if there are complications during delivery.

Bolivia-It is believed by a number of women that knitting while pregnant endangers the baby because knitting may cause the umbilical cord to wrap around the baby’s neck.

Guatemala– Some women in this country believe that remaining inside the home for the entire nine months of gestation will protect the infant from evil or illnesses.

China- Several women in China wear anti-radiation vests to protect developing babies from the exposure of cell phones, microwaves and computers. It is believed that exposure to these items can lead to birth defects and miscarriages.

Panama- Mothers are often encouraged to only eat natural foods and avoid processed foods.  The consumption of only natural foods will prevent colic and help the mother in regaining her figure.

Mexico– Many believe if the mother does not eat the food that she is craving during pregnancy; the baby will be born with a birth mark in the shape of that food.

Kenya- The Akamaba people of Kenya may discourage sex during pregnancy; it is believed that sex may result in the birth of a disabled child.

Integrating practices in modern medicine and traditional customs often prove beneficial for fetal development. Women are highly encouraged to seek prenatal care from a medical professional as soon as possible. Early prenatal care can reduce the odds of having low birth weight, identify risks or complications and decrease the risk of pre-term birth.

 

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.