What is a prenatal genetic counselor?
A prenatal genetic counselor is a specially trained health care professional who can provide information on risks to a pregnancy and available testing and screening options. Our certified genetic counselor has advanced training in risk assessment, counseling and medical genetics, and works alongside a physician who specializes in high-risk pregnancy and an ultrasound team so you get the most comprehensive care possible.
When to consider prenatal genetic counseling
Prenatal genetic counseling services can offer value to people who are contemplating pregnancy and those who are currently pregnant. It may be recommended when:
- Have personal or family histories of genetic conditions, birth defects or learning problems.
- Are carriers of genetic conditions and would like to learn more about the chance of passing them down.
- Are members of certain ethnic groups with a higher chance of carrying specific genetic conditions.
- Would like to learn more about prenatal screening and testing options.
- Have had multiple miscarriages, stillbirths, infant deaths or a diagnosis of infertility.
- Include a male who will be 45 or older at the time of conception.
- Include a woman who will be 35 or older at the time of delivery.
- Take specific medications or have exposures that increase the risk of birth defects.
- Have certain medical conditions that make a pregnancy higher risk.
ProHealth Care offers two types of genetic counseling appointments:
- Preconception genetic counseling for individuals or families considering pregnancy
- Address potential parents’ concerns related to their personal or family genetic history.
- Discuss available screening options before and during pregnancy.
- Identify risk factors that may affect fertility or pregnancy outcomes.
- Prenatal genetic counseling for expecting parents
- Discuss available screening options for average risk couples.
- Discuss concerns identified during the pregnancy that place the baby at higher risk for genetic conditions or birth defects.
What to expect during your appointment
During a prenatal genetic counseling appointment, your genetic counselor will:
- Discuss your goals and information needs as they apply to genetic screening and testing.
- Review your pregnancy history and medical history.
- Collect each partners’ family health history.
- Discuss your chance of having a child with medical concerns.
- Talk about the affect test results may have on you and your family.
- Provide information so that you can decide whether to pursue genetic screening or testing, and discuss which tests may best address your need.
- Discuss insurance coverage of any tests you select.
Genetic testing options
Your genetic counselor may recommend:
- Carrier screening
- Genetic testing for some conditions identified in families
- Screening options during pregnancy
- Nuchal translucency ultrasound
- First trimester screening
- Cell free DNA screening
- Quad screening
- Diagnostic genetic testing using amniocentesis
- Screenings for openings along the spine
Privacy and genetic testing
Your genetic information and any other information shared during your visits with our genetic counselor will remain private, just like any other part of your medical record. ProHealth follows all state and federal laws to protect your health information. Learn more about health information privacy and security at ProHealth Care.