Genetic counselors are trained medical professionals who work closely with patients to discuss genetic principles and their relevance within pregnancies. They use medical, pregnancy, and family histories to identify and assess potential risks within a pregnancy or an individual. Genetic counselors also discuss the basics of genetic principles and the options for genetic testing within pregnancies or individuals. Whether this be related to testing already performed within a pregnancy or an existing genetic condition in an individual or their family.
Specific Reasons To Undergo Genetic Counseling
Individuals or their doctors may recommend genetic counseling for a variety of reasons.
- Health Management: Persons with a personal or family history of a variety of neuromuscular, autoimmune, cardiovascular, psychological, malignant, or genetic diseases may benefit from genetic counseling.
- Medications: The discussion of types of medications, dosage within a pregnancy, and the timing of taking medication during pregnancy may be helpful to determine what medications are best for you during pregnancy. Following discussion of risks and benefits of medication use in a pregnancy, your prescribing physician may or may not alter your medication plan during pregnancy.
- Family Planning: Prospective parents with a personal or family history of genetic conditions may benefit from discussing risks within pregnancy or chances for future children to inherit this condition. Further, genetic testing may be available within a pregnancy.
- Genetic Conditions During Pregnancy: Genetic conditions may sometimes be detected during pregnancy. An individual may also have a previously identified genetic condition. This may alter the management of this pregnancy from a medical standpoint. Additional ultrasounds or referrals may be recommended depending on the genetic condition noted in the individual. Further, genetic testing may be available for the pregnancy.
Finding A Genetic Counselor
There are more than 3,000 genetic counselors across North America. Doctors and medical institutions may provide patients with contact information for genetic counselors in the area. Further, the National Society of Genetic Counselors provides a search tool to find genetic counselors available in specific geographic areas.
If you have questions about genetic counseling, we encourage you to contact Greater Washington Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Genetics (GWMFM). More information about our programs and services can be found by accessing https://www.gwmfm.com.