Planning a Baby : Get Genetic Counselling Done

5 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Get Genetic Counselling Done

Your genes can affect your health and the health of your family. This can include Inherited diseases. These are disorders pass from parent to child. They often develop early in life and often have no symptoms in the first few decades of life. When planning a baby, it is important to get genetic counselling, especially if you or your partner has a family history of genetic disorders.

Genetic testing is becoming more accessible and is available to those at all stages of life, from prenatal testing all the way to post-retirement. This means you can get screening for certain genetic disorders or at-risk genes as part of your standard testing process. You may also undergo testing if a family member has a condition or disease that is strongly associated with a certain gene. It’s also common for people to get tested for unknown or “variant” genes, which can result in a more personalized diagnosis and treatment plan, if applicable.

In This Article

What is Genetic Counseling?

Genetic counseling is the process of providing information and support to someone about the genetics of their family members. This will help them make decisions about their health and future pregnancies. Genetic counselors are experts in the field of genetics. They help families navigate their options so they can achieve the best possible outcome — a healthy baby — regardless of their genetic status.

Why is it Important to Get Genetic Counselling Done?

Genetic testing is a powerful tool that can identify many of your health risks.

  • It can also identify your genetic predisposition to certain diseases and conditions, such as familial hypercholesterolemia, a cholesterol disorder that can lead to heart disease, or a disorder of copper metabolism, which can cause neurodegeneration.
  • This testing can also identify the presence of certain genetic mutations that increase your risk for certain cancers, such as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer, or help you decide if you want to have children later in life after you’ve finished your family.
  • It helps to monitor the health of your children to determine if they have inherited certain conditions
  • Counseling helps with understanding what are different types of genetic tests available and how medical support and service can help avoid possible hereditary disorders’.

When Should You Visit a Genetic Counselor?

There are many reasons why you should visit a genetic counselor during pregnancy. Especially, if you have a high risk of having a child with genetic disorders if

  • One of your close relatives was born with genetic illnesses
  • Genetic disorders run within your family
  • Pregnant women over the age of 34 with abnormal screening results
  • One of the parents with recent diagnosis of hereditary diseases.
  • To learn if you carry a gene for genetic illness and how likely it would pass on to their child

What Happens in Genetic Counseling?

Genetic counselors use the latest genetic testing and research to help people better understand their family history and genetic traits, like height, eye and hair color, and disease risks. They can also help you and your family understand how to use your genetic information to take decisions about your health. For example, whether to take a certain medication or how much exercise to get.

These counselors also assist families in making decisions about reproductive and end-of-life care and provide support for children and families. Experts in the latest in genetic research and technology can help you or your family navigate the complex world of genetic testing and the genetic genealogy movement.

Genetic Counseling During Pregnancy – Types of Testing

Types of genetic testing during pregnancy

There are various types of testing scenarios when it comes to knowing whether a gene is dominant or recessive, and how likely it would affect the baby’s growth. If a parent carries a dominant gene for certain there will be a 50% chance that the child would have a similar condition. In cases where only one of the parents carries a recessive gene, then the child may not have the condition or trait. If both the parents carry recessive genes -one-fourth of the children suffer from the condition.

There is a wide range of genetic testing available today. The most common tests include

Noninvasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)

NIPT involves analyzing a baby’s blood at the first available point, which is often the 10-12 week ultra-sound. The test is performed by drawing blood from the baby and then analyzing the DNA in the blood. Some NIPT tests can identify if a baby has a genetic mutation that can increase the risk of certain diseases, like Tay-Sachs, cystic fibrosis, and Down syndrome.

Quad Screen

This is a blood test done between 15 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. During this test, a sample of mothers’ blood is collected and screened to identify alpha-fetoprotein, hCG, and estradiol. Having a higher composition of these materials may indicate neural tube defects while lower values represent certain chromosomal defects.


Ultrasound is usually performed from time to time during pregnancy to check the baby’s anatomy and identify issues related to kidney problems, heart defects, and limb defects


This procedure involves inserting a needle into the amniotic sac surrounding the fetus to extract a small sample of fluid for testing. This procedure is usually performed between 15 and 18 weeks of pregnancy to determine chromosomal abnormalities and genetic disorders.

How Can You Find a Genetic Counselor?

You can find a genetic counselor through your doctor, gynecologist or genetic testing company. The internet will have lot of information about resources close to you or to suit the specializations you are looking for.

Genetic counseling during pregnancy helps to potentially identify the high risk for a particular genetic illness. It helps parents who are planning to have a baby to reduce the risks associated with inherited disorders. The couple will be able to take better decisions relating to the health of their unborn baby.


1. What Causes Genetic Disorders in Babies?

A baby is born with a genetic disorder if a genetic change happens to a baby before it is born. This happens because of chromosomal abnormalities or changes that happen during fertilisation. There are other ways for genetic changes to happen, but they are much rarer.

2. What Are The Advantages of Genetic Counseling?

Genetic counselors will help you understand your risks of developing certain diseases. They may be able to recommend options for you if you have a child with a known genetic condition. In addition, they will also help you understand your risk of passing along a genetic condition to your children and can help you to make informed decisions about having children.

3. How Can You Prevent Genetic Disorders During Pregnancy?

The best thing you can do to reduce the risk of passing on a genetic condition is to get genetic testing early in your pregnancy. To have a healthy pregnancy is to eat a healthy diet and get enough rest.

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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