In this day and age, it is not uncommon for women to wait until later in life to start a family. Advanced aged pregnancies, referring to women who will be thirty-five years old or older at the time of delivery, are projected to rise in the coming years. While these women are likely to have a successful and healthy pregnancy, there is an increased risk for chromosome disorders, such as Down syndrome. Many families are interested in taking steps to learn more about the health of their pregnancy. For a mother of advanced maternal age, one of these steps might include meeting with a genetic counselor.
Most of us are aware that egg quality is reduced as a woman ages. Because of this, as women get older, the risk for chromosome disorders increases. A prenatal genetic counselor can discuss your age-related risk and review the screening and diagnostic testing options that are available to you during pregnancy. The genetic counselor will also ask you questions about your pregnancy and family history to determine if any other testing should be considered
Prenatal genetic counselors equip you with the necessary information needed to make an informed decision about testing for these chromosome disorders during pregnancy. Should you decide you want to pursue testing, a genetic counselor will coordinate the testing and will assist you in interpreting the results. If needed, they will provide you with emotional support and informational resources to better understand these results. They are able to provide support and information in a way that many other medical professionals are not equipped to do.
Making an appointment with a genetic counselor is a great option, not only for mothers of advanced maternal age, but every family looking to gain information in regards to the health and wellness of their pregnancy. The knowledge that your baby is developing healthily is a priceless feeling. Genetic counselors can be a vital member of your pregnancy support system.