5 Tips To Help You Prepare For A Genetic Counseling Session

what is genetic counseling

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If you are first-time parents-to-be, you and your partner may be surprised to learn just how many types of prenatal tests are available today!

These tests can help in assessing you and your baby’s health and also in predicting potential health risks. Genetic testing is one of them

What Is Genetic Counseling?

Genetic counseling is done to know if any disorders can be passed to your child genetically. The process deals with:

  • Evaluation of medical records and family history.
  • Genetic tests.
  • Evaluation of the results of the genetic tests.
  • Guidance for parents in case results are positive for genetic disorders.
  • Helping parents decide what steps to take next.

Your doctor may recommend genetic counseling or you could seek it out yourself, if you have a history that suggests you need genetic testing.

[ Read: Tests During Pregnancy First Trimester ]

Why Genetic Counselling?

It is important to have professionals like genetic counselors if your family has a history of inherited disorders.

  • The session that you have with them can help you understand everything you need to know about possible genetic problems your child may face.
  • If the prenatal tests that you have taken turns positive for genetic or birth defects, they can help you cope and provide you with options. So that you can decide on the best steps to take for your child as well as your family.

Things To Expect At Genetic Counseling Sessions

At a genetic counseling session, you will have a discussion with a genetic counselor. He or she will talk about the risks of having a child with a genetic defect or disorder, after he or she goes through you and your partner’s medical and family history.

  1. You will be given information about the different types of tests and treatments that are available and also about all the options you have.
  2. The counselor is there to help you with the scientific and technical information and make it easier for you to understand them.
  3. Once the complex information is simplified, you can make informed decisions on what would be best for your family.
  4. Apart from your family’s medical history, the counselor will also ask if you have been exposed to any toxic substances before or during your pregnancy.
  5. You will also need to provide him or her with information regarding any medication that you may have taken or are taking while you are pregnant. It is a good idea to bring a list of the medications, if any, to your session.

[ Read: Ultrasound During Pregnancy ]

What Happens During A Genetic Counseling Session?

During a genetic counseling session, the counselor will help you gain an understanding of the benefits and risks, as well as limitations, of the prenatal tests that are available to you and also of those you are considering.

  • If you have already taken tests, the results will also be explained to you so that you know exactly what to expect.
  • A genetic counseling session takes anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour.
  • The counselor is there to help you know and understand all the information that has been provided to you.

What Happens After A Genetic Counseling Session?

After your session with a genetic counselor is over, he or she will write a letter that summarizes the session.

  • The letter will be sent to you and if it is required, to your physician as well.
  • The counselor may also refer you to community resources if you think that you need them.
  • More prenatal testing can also be coordinated for you by a genetic counselor.

Test Results And Counselling

If the tests reveal that your baby may have a problem, the genetic counselor will be there to give you guidance and support during this difficult and important time.

  • You and your family will need someone to help you with all the information you receive and that is exactly what counselors are there for.
  • The risks involved will be put into perspective for you and your counselor will also help you go through all the emotions you experience.

As parents, we want our child to have the best start in life. If you’d like to know, about genetic counseling the best person to talk to is your doctor, who will be able to point out the right person to help you.

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